Your Congress at Work

The Congressional GOP is running the show in Washington, and clearly feeling its oats.  They aren’t even embarrassed about moving quickly to pollute the environment and remove rules intended to protect Americans from a variety of threats, physical and financial.

As Vox reports,

With everything that Republicans want to do — repeal Obamacare, overhaul the tax code — it might seem odd that one of Congress’ very first acts would be to kill an obscure Obama-era regulation that restricts coal companies from dumping mining waste into streams and waterways.

But that is indeed what’s going on. On Thursday, the Senate voted 54-45 to repeal the so-called “stream protection rule” — using a regulation-killing tool known as the Congressional Review Act. The House took a similar vote yesterday, and if President Trump agrees, the stream protection rule will be dead. Coal companies will now have a freer hand in dumping mining debris in streams.

NPR has more not-good news:

On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill.

The action was the latest move by congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama’s regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act..The National Rifle Association had pushed for the repeal, and Republicans argued it infringed upon Second Amendment rights by denying due process.

Evidently, the GOP’s allegiance to the NRA trumps (pardon the phrase) its pious concern for “right to life” –at least when that right is asserted by those of us who are already born..

Meanwhile, Investment News explains Trump’s assault on fiduciary responsibility and Dodd-Frank.

President Donald J. Trump today will halt a Labor Department regulation that requires advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. Mr. Trump’s order will give the new administration time to review the change, known as the fiduciary rule.

He will also order a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, a White House official said, signing an executive action designed to significantly scale back the regulatory system put in place in 2010.

Taken together, the actions are designed to lay down the Trump administration’s approach to financial markets, with an emphasis on removing regulatory burdens and opening up investor options, said the White House official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

The orders are the most aggressive steps yet by Mr. Trump to loosen regulations in the financial services industry and come after he has sought to stock his administration with veterans of the industry in key positions.

I’m sure that all those Trump voters who claim that they weren’t voting for his bigotry, his misogyny or his xenophobia, but because they believed his promise to “drain the swamp,” will be so pleased….

At least we can all see clearly now just who the Trump/GOP’s real constituents are.

46 thoughts on “Your Congress at Work

  1. Well, one thing for sure is that this administration is starting out with such great reasons to #Resist everything.
    I mean, none of these things make any sense. I think I will take all of my money out of my 401k and stuff it under my mattress because the crash is coming. Look out!

  2. Like AgingLGrl, I’ve been thinking about the little retirement savings I’ve been able to accumulate. I’m 63. I’ve experienced 2 major crashes, unemployment, and am under-employed in part-time work. I’m just trying to hang on ’til I’m eligible for Social Security at 66. And that is probably at risk under Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republicans.
    I’m keeping my eye on all trust-worthy news sources for info. I’m calling my elected representatives at the State House and Wash., D.C. frequently on issues. I’m going to participate in a Common Cause training session this coming Wednesday and go to the State House to speak to legislators about the Re-Districting plan.
    I believe the core problem facing us today is voting rights. The restriction of them by Republicans in every state has led to a one-party power grab that violates our core values of representation and the consent of the governed. Too many of us – the 72+ million who did NOT vote for Trump – are being ignored, shut out of our own government. I do not think THIS is what our Founders intended.
    I am terrified that by “draining the swamp” Trump meant an elected Congress and not the Corporate Kleptocrats.
    I’m terrified by the traitorous influence of Steve Bannon on Trump and that we are seeing a show-down between the Judiciary and the Presidency over the immigration ban. I fear we are seeing the beginnings of a fascist dictatorship. It’s happened before and could happen here if our institutions and citizens are not strong enough to resist it.
    WE MUST RESIST any attempt to undermine our democratic Republic.

  3. Can you believe what is happening to us? We’re being RAPED by our own President. It’s incestuous. Would anyone in their right mind fight for a country like this? We’re becoming “sitting ducks.”

  4. While I too am worried about my retirement fund in the stock market and the stream of executive orders pouring out of the White House that threaten the country I am at the same time also encouraged by the massive uprising of Americans across the country who have at last put country ahead of self and are taking a stand.
    I am old enough to have seen some history and never, NEVER, have I seen anything like what is happening today. I am also heartened by the memory of what happened to Tricky Dicky when he tried to defy a federal court ruling. So to Trump & Co. and their Muslim ban I say “Bring it on, you fools; you and Bannon and Pence are about to find out what the Constitution really means.”
    Unless and until the Federal Courts fail, I’m resisting and standing pat.

  5. I’m encouraged too Theresa and anxious to get back to AZ to participate. Marv, I’m really concerned that I have 9 years before I can retire with full SS and Medicare (8 yrs). I don’t have much in savings and this move is costing us a lot of money. I hope I can find a job but what if I can’t? I’m screwed.

  6. We are being inundated with far too many issues and negative actions by Trump and Congress to fully foresee or understand end results and cannot fight all of them at once. We need to pick our battles; find qualified organizations specializing in specific issues to work with and protest against. Organization will be our ultimate strength during this battle; think of D Day and the massive organization to begin the end of the war. Are local offices of national organizations working with the groups of protesters; if so, how do we contact them to join their efforts and maintain the current level of fighting to protect our rights? We must not allow the energy level to be drained by trying to battle on too many fronts at one time.

    To return to W.C. Fields comment; “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Trump and Congress are winning with their efforts to “baffle us with bullshit” using Trump’s mentally unbalanced inability to know what he is signing and they are automatically passing, to support their lucrative deals to protect big business against everything the Constitution stands for. They are “working in collusion” rather than the Legislative and Executive powers “working together” in a “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Sadly; they are deliberately working against President Abraham Lincoln’s hope that this government would “not perish from the earth”; it is being deliberately and quickly destroyed before our eyes.

    “At least we can all see clearly now just who the Trump/GOP’s real constituents are.”

    We can also see that the campaign THREATS made by Trump are being carried out in addition to repealing Constitutional protections which Congress has been trying to end for the past eight years. President Obama put up a valiant fight against odds nor other president has faced. The Legislative and Executive branches of the United States government is now a fully operating on a “tit for tat”, “scratch my back and I’ll scratch your’s”, “one hand washes the other” format and between them it has become “the left hand FULLY KNOWS what the right hand is doing.”

    Watching the protest marches I spotted one sign a few times which impressed me greatly; it stated “I’m with her” and had arrows pointing in all directions. Now; I need to know which arrow to follow for leadership to concentrate my protest efforts so as to strengthen rather than separate and weaken my energies.

  7. Therr are still die-hard trump supporters that are choosing to ignore what is going on and they still believe he will be great for our country. Without even batting an eye they manage to also defend his crazy behavior and speech. Sigh

  8. JoAnn,

    “We must not allow the energy level to be drained by trying to battle on too many fronts at one time.”

    There’s only one FRONT left that will be effective. Its mission would be to communicate the REAL POLITICAL TRUTH: The only objective that Trump/Pence can accomplish is the destruction of the country; they will never be able to take PHYSICAL CONTROL until after a CIVIL/RACE WAR which I doubt that they have the ability to win.

  9. JoAnn – You nailed it; your commentary is spot on. With orders pouring out of the oval office and robots in the Congress the debris is accumulating and (as Marv has suggested earlier) will take a long time to undo such sheer quantity of destructive edicts. What I am beginning to fear is that we may be subject to outrage fatigue, i.e., with every new day’s outrage we tend to forget those of the preceding week, or even day. This is dangerous to preservation and expansion of our democracy, and how important is that? Just this: There is no good reason to even have a country if we are shorn of our democratic institutions and are populated only by the royal rich and obedient serfs, the worst possible outcome for America, a giant ATM machine for the rich and servitude for the rest of us.

    We must remember and fight every such intrusion of our rights day and night with the fervor of “Remember Pearl Harbor” because we are engaged in a war for the heart and soul of our nation. Overstatement? That’s what the Good Germans thought in the 20s and early 30s, and history records how that worked out as they allowed a murderous dictator to assume all power. Some may have changed their minds when the gestapo showed up a 2 A.M. in their bedrooms to beat them unmercifully, but they were too late. We are not at that stage just yet but the table is being set for such atrocities. We must struggle to retain our most precious asset held in common – our democracy – which is as I often write one of the last few things worth dying for. Fatigue in doing our citizen’s duty? Those who died for our democracy at Valley Forge, Okinawa and Gettysburg were a bit fatigued, too. Let’s resist while we can, and with determination.

  10. The one big mistake everyone is making [except me, sort of joking], is that you’re relying on the courts. Based on my over 50 years experiencing this mutating nightmare, there’s not a “chance in hell” that they will be of any substantial help. Many Americans are relying on organisations that operate in the court system, like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. They are important, but they are no answer by themselves.

    If they were, how did all of this happen to us?

  11. Gerald,

    “What I am beginning to fear is that we may be subject to outrage fatigue, i.e., with every new day’s outrage we tend to forget those of the preceding week, or even day.”

    You’re right. That could end up being our number one enemy. All we have right now is a high level of inspiration with no plans or objective. If we lose the inspiration, what do we have left?

    That’s another reason we must act quickly without haste.

  12. Gerald; I had greater difficulty sleeping last night than since November 8th. My thoughts kept coming back to organization and concentrating efforts (mine, at least) on areas where I might be best suited. That is why I asked about local offices of national organizations. Maybe local organizations such as Women 4 Change and Pantsuit Nation Indiana can be our first contact for information and referral. We MUST rely on and battle in AND AGAINST the court system; look what happened when the ACLU stood up to the immigration ban and only one judge came forward. It has brought others to the forefront and they are fighting in many areas but fighting the same enemy, using the same laws and Constitutional rights and has become a national movement. This is what must be done on all issues; Trump himself said only one time but he did say it, that we need a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. Of course he copied that campaign promise from Bernie who demanded Hillary make that issue part of the Democratic campaign foundation before he would support her. Trump, naturally, did just the opposite by never mentioning it again and now ending regulations on big business.

    The few strong Democrats we can depend on need to organize themselves into one cohesive group; again, concentrating their individual efforts where they will do the most good. They are needed as our touchstone; to get Biblical on all of you, “there are many rooms in this political mansion” and “the money changers must be driven from the temples”…AGAIN.

  13. I’ve mentioned http://www.TheAlarmReport.info a few times in the past on this blog. It was a vehicle for winning the battle for one man[person], one vote in Dallas in 1991. It also was a vehicle for ATTEMPTING to disbar me on fabricated charges after I was warned not to take action. The Bar Associations in many states are controlled by Far Right fanatics. Texas isn’t the only one that has been in the past. On the advice of one of my friends on the Texas Supreme Court, I filed a Motion to Show Cause against The State Bar of Texas. I forced them to come from Austin and appear in the District Court in Dallas. After I asked the State Bar’s attorney was there any facts for a case against me. He refused to answer. [Like taking the fifth]. The judge who was a woman, then addressed the packed courtroom with, “Because of Mr. Kramer’s reputation, I’m ruling against the State Bar of Texas and furthermore, I’m removing myself as judge in this case; she was just the first.

    There were approximately 150 attorneys in the courtroom witnessing this proceeding. Only one asked me, “What is going on?” They all got the message. Do you blame them? I don’t. They had in most cases families to support.

    A couple of weeks ago, I attended a lecture at the Jacksonville Public Library on the WANTED POSTER, with the faces of 28 Jewish attorneys, distributed throughout Germany during the early days of the Third Reich.

    No matter what happens in the next weeks and months, we’re going to have less and less freedom. Courts will be unable to protect us from all the instances of threats and coercion. Very few attorneys will step forward unless they want to jeopardise their professional and financial future. That’s for sure.

  14. At least from what I can stomach when I read and hear comments elsewhere, the Trumpkins are perfectly happy with the Trumpet.

    Among the items they give the Trumpet a pat on the back for, is attacking the Liberal Media, attacking the courts, protecting us by saying he will build a wall, banning people from entering the country and talking loud and threatening the big stick. You see according to the Trumpkins America was weak. The power was there but, there was an unwillingness to use the power. So we have a whole host of countries that the Trumpet has insulted or threatened.

    I receive a feed on face book from Erin Brockovich. She has outlined in chilling details the efforts at the Federal, State and Local Levels of a dismantling of any protection the 99% have from polluters. There is not only a dismantling but a failure to enforce regulations already on the book.

    The Anti-Knowledge Evangelical clique dovetails with steroid Laissez-faire Corporatism. Steroid Laissez-faire Corporatism plays into the mythology of Forbidden Fruit.

  15. The first sentence in “The Chamber,” which was the 7th best seller in the world for the decade of the 90’s, says it all:

    “THE DECISION to bomb the office of the radical Jew lawyer was reached with relative ease.”

    “The Chamber” by John Grisham (New York: Doubleday, 1994) p. 1

    By the way, Grisham is a good friend of the Bush Family.

    From Barbara Bush: “At the end of April [1992] we invited John Grisham and his wife, Renee, to a state dinner for President and Mrs. von Weizsacker of Germany. I sat between the President and John.”

    “Barbara Bush, a Memoir” by Barbara Bush (New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1995)p. 485

  16. JoAnn – Trump cannot on the one hand have a new Glass-Steagall and on the other loosen regulatory control of the rich and corporate class, especially Wall Street and its big banks. He has sold that impossibility to the masses, apparently, who don’t seem to understand this illogical claim in their fervor to condemn the press, Obamacare etc., condemnation that involves the messengers and not their messages. The coming enviseration of Dodd-Frank added to orders to the SEC to loosen up regulation is an almost certain recipe for recession or worse. I have already had some who have asked me if they should change their dollars into some foreign currency. I have advised them not to bother since if we go into recession or worse the world what with our control of world markets will follow since all will be similarly affected. Let’s keep this from happening in the first place!

  17. There are so many destructive forces looting and burning DC at the moment it’s hard to maintain a strategic sense of what battle to fight when.

    We need some Democratic leadership to organize the resistance. An Obama? Bernie? I think that Elizibeth Warren might emerge. Gillibran?

    In the meantime here’s scary reading in case you are starting to relax.

    Insight into Steve Bannon.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/steve-bannon-really-wants-120054909.html?.tsrc=jtc_news_index

    It’s getting harder to sleep at night.

  18. Freedoms should be protected only for right-wing Republican Fascists, Christofascists and Trumpets. Too expensive to protect everyone’s Constitutional guarantee. To tread further on the downtrodden, cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and push through tax cuts for the obscenely wealthy. Do other draconian legislation while you still have the Majority. Continue campaigning to legislate morality while demonizing efforts to protect pristine waters, forests and pure air. Be sure to decorate police and military uniforms with swastikas or other authoritarian insignia.
    Don’t forget to promote fear and insecurity to control citizen attitudes, remembering the fiscal opportunities offered by a wartime economy. Student unrest can be mitigated by widespread military conscription.

  19. Gerald; that is what I meant about organizing and battling where our efforts are best suited. How many people (especially Republicans other than the Trump appointees) remember that one time comment Trump made about the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act; knew what it actually meant and remembered it when he signed the order you described as, “The coming enviseration of Dodd-Frank added to orders to the SEC to loosen up regulation is an almost certain recipe for recession or worse.”? The Republicans and cabinet appointees hope no one remembered it; I doubt if the majority of the Trump voters – and Trump himself – know what the Glass-Steagall Act was. Those voters have no idea that evisceration of Dodd-Frank means the destruction of any financial stability they may have to rely on, no matter how small. The attorneys specializing in this area of law must organize and find that one judge to begin this battle for survival…as the ACLU attorneys did with the refugee ban.

    It looks to me as if every issue Trump has acted on in only two weeks is leading to all-out war on each issue. This is something new that protesters were not marching against last week but need to begin painting their signs and finding a gathering place in all big cities. I have agreed to let my daughter-in-law borrow a wheelchair to push me in (this is damaging to my fragile ego) so I can “march” with her; what the hell will I march against with so many anti-Trump issues to choose from and he adds to his list daily? Can we continue the movementS which began two weeks ago; and pick up marchers as Trump adds destructive issues to his list – BEFORE HE DECLARES WAR OR WE ARE DECLARED UPON? The situation with Russia/Crimea and the ended sanctions by Trump against the wishes of Great Briton and other allies has heated up over the past 2-3 days.

  20. AgingLGrl,

    “Wow, Marv, you’re famous!

    You’re right. Too famous for my own good. I’m lucky to still be alive. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

  21. I was of the understanding that allowing coal mines to pollute again means a revival of mountain top removal mining that is good for coal because they have fewer workers and less overhead/oversight. Coal mining and those jobs are not coming back. Blame cheap and plentiful natural gas, not Obama.

    Maybe Drumpf will heavily subsidize the coal energy companies-assuring them of profits and the hell with the workers.

  22. Drumpf accused HRC of being in Wall Street’s pockets during the campaign. In fact Wall Street much preferred Drumpf because he said he would deregulate them and allow them to prey on everyone again.

  23. AgingLgrl,

    The trouble that Grisham and his buddies have is that the “The Chamber” was published in 1994 when I was 56; I have to admit that I pulled back somewhat.

    That’s not going to be the case when I’m a few months from being 80. If anything “The Chamber” motivates me to move rapidly forward. Screw’em.

  24. The Trump regime and its trumpeteers keep citing his ‘win’ and how states across the country are losing Democratic seats. What’s left out of this narrative is the effect of gerrymandering, redistricting on our legislatures. They are winning with less votes and then acting like they have a mandate. We must stay vigilant. They are trying now to criminalize dissent. They don’t have the desire to look at the underlying reasons for the uprising, that would entail an analysis of this brazen power grab and putting an end to their tyranny. Power will be wrested out of their cold, dead hands. Grab your megaphones and get out there!!!

  25. I want to thank those of you who are in your 70s, 80s and 90s that have such passion about fighting for the future of our country. I truly appreciate it because you could easily be enjoying retirement while knowing that the current destruction may/ will never really harm you and your circumstances. Thank you for caring!

    And Sheila, thank you especially for keeping us informed and motivated!

  26. AgingLgrl,

    “Marv, I’m really concerned that I have 9 years before I can retire with full SS and Medicare (8 yrs). I don’t have much in savings and this move is costing us a lot of money. I hope I can find a job but what if I can’t? I’m screwed.”

    You’re not the only one who is going to be screwed. I’m going to be 80 without any medical insurance.

    However, in my estimation, the best thing that you can do [and others], is to do like me. Consider yourself DEAD, before you really are. This attitude has really paid off for me in the past.

    I learned this type of attitude many years ago after watching the movie “Twelve O’clock High” starring Gregory Peck. The important scene was when Gregory Peck who was playing the Commander of the Bombing Squadron that was about to attack Nazi Germany tore into his pilots and crew after the previous mission had turned out to be a failure. Ending his tirade, he admonished his pilots that anyone flying with him had to consider themselves DEAD. That was the only way they were going to achieve the objective of the mission. If not, their fear was going to defeat them. I believe this is the ALLEGORICAL secret that can defeat Trump/Pence.

    Fear is preventing us from looking at the REAL TRUTH. The time for planning to attack is now, not later. “Tomorrow might bring sorrow.”

  27. Trump/Pence have decided to go to war. It’s not going to be like an election or a courtroom battle. We must face the REAL TRUTH or we will be forced to surrender before the battle even starts.

  28. I turned on my TV a few minutes ago and switched to the PBS station where Charlie Rose was interviewing the former Head of the CIA. Trump has decided that he doesn’t need their ongoing advice.

    What I have been trying to point out for many months is that those of us who are for democracy are not being defended.

    After listening to Charlie Rose and his guest, I started to think again on the same subject I have discussed before to no avail.

    Who is collecting intelligence on Trump/Pence other than for purposes of the next election?
    Who would be assessing the intelligence if it was being collected?
    Who would be making policy decisions if the collection and assessment had been made?

    This is what the CIA and intelligence organizations do? An “Intelligence Report” from the Southern Poverty Law Center doesn’t do any of this. They report on “white power organizations” which they have no power whatsoever to act upon.

    How long is this charade going to continue before we really are going to be DEAD?

  29. Southern Poverty Law Center’s reports on white power organizations provide vital local information which we get nowhere else. They DO take action when clients go to them for specific protection and legal services when and if needed. They are not a government agency with the power to take action against these organizations otherwise; anymore than you can take action against the SPLC for NOT taking action you believe they should be providing.

    I’m sorry, Marv, but…you seem to have a personal vendetta against them for not providing the amount of anti-Semitic attention you believe they should and that the ADL provides attention to the wrong faction of Jews. You have so much history, information and experience fighting for the rights of others; but too often concentrate on what you see as what SPLC and ADL are not doing. Thanks to the SPLC I can find the names and locations of KKK, white supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, patriot groups in Indianapolis and Indiana. What Trump and his administration ARE doing at this time to this entire country is much more important to concentrate on.

  30. Marv, I simply cannot watch war movies. I could probably tolerate the wiki on that movie but I’m trying to recover from organizing this move. The movers left with our furniture on Tuesday and I’m trying to get used to living in an apartment that has the bare minimum that my spouse will use in his new place come the 1st of March or so. He’s has to stay here and I’m going to AZ to live in our home so until he finds another position, we will be separated. That’s hard enough for both of us after 10 yrs of marriage. His contract ends in March 2018 so we could be apart for up to a year. Maybe these organizations will hire me, or maybe while I’m protesting #45, I will meet someone that knows of an opening so that I can contribute to the household. or maybe our favorite restaurant will take mercy on me and hire me as a waitress or cook? Ugh. I gave up restaurant life in 1985 so even considering that as an employment options scares the s*it out of me. But this is what we’re doing to get out of this situation, cut our losses and start over.

  31. JoAnn,

    “What Trump and his administration ARE doing at this time to this entire country is much more important to concentrate on.”

    Exactly right. And the problem has come from the SPLC/ADL not concentrating on the systemic problems and making sure that no one else did. It’s the retaliation that has occurred which has erased the knowledge of the Far Right buildup that I’m not going to quit on. We can’t do a thing because we have no knowledge of the deep systems which the SPLC/ADL didn’t address. It’s one thing not to address an issue. Another thing to stop someone else from doing it. They prevented others from doing what they weren’t going to do.

    I’ve been dealing with the ADL and SPLC for over 40 years and now you’re the expert. Fine.

  32. AgingLgrl,

    Just a suggestion. I would move as quick as you can to find something temporarily. We’re not going to be able to stop Trump/Pence anytime soon. The writing is on the wall. Many people will be hurt. Jobs will be very difficult to find. Protect yourself financially as soon and as much as you’re able to do.

  33. The Sierra club is good about sending e-mails at critical times so we can contact our senators and representatives about environmental issues, although they were a bit late on the stream protection rule. How can we get info on when to contact them about Dodd-Frank and what to say?

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