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Paul's View

The danger to democracy is far deeper than the current problems of Trump

6a3395d1e814e981a706b4eac458fb45 political memes political cartoonsRemember when Trump spoke endlessly of “beautiful clean coal?” You probably thought it was because he is so committed to saving jobs in the coal industry. If his concern about jobs was legitimate, then why is he far less concerned about the many more jobs found in the renewable energy industry?
These jobs, the wave of the future, are jeopardized with his policies which make renewable energy much more costly.
Well maybe, just maybe, his interest in the coal industry is tied to an individual by the name of Corbin Robertson? Who is Corbin Robertson you ask? He happens to be a major Republican Party campaign donor who also just happens to own 21 billion tons of coal reserves.
Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, is a frequently-recited refrain by Trump during both his campaign and his presidency. This, despite the overwhelming proof of the existence of the effects of climate change as attested to by almost the entire scientific community.
Any chance that Trump’s ignorant denials of climate change has more to do with the influence of the fossil fuel industry lead by major campaign donors Charles and David Koch, a.k.a. The Koch Brothers? I think so.

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And now a word about ICE

180606 nr 2Back in 2003 the Department of Homeland Security was established by combining several agencies from other U.S. departments under one overarching umbrella. The thinking was that placing all of these disparate agencies under one department would somehow make such activities related to homeland security, such as intelligence gathering and enforcement of border security, more efficient and effective.
Whether simply placing agencies under the same federal department resulted in any significant improvement in information sharing or a more efficient operation is still a matter for debate. What is not a matter for debate is that one of the agencies created under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE, which stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is now under intense scrutiny due to how the agency is implementing White House policy as it relates to immigration via the southern border of the United States.

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Taking another close look at Hogan, the governor’s race and much more

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A few weeks ago, my column “Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?” published June 7, took a look at some key issues that will surely be debated during the Maryland gubernatorial campaign. To say it generated some controversy would be putting it mildly. Like most things in life, there is always more than one side to any issue. To say that the governor’s office, specifically his Director of Communications, Ms. Amelia Chasse, took exception to my portrayal of the governor’s record would be quite the understatement.

As an advocate of the “fairness doctrine,” the purpose of this column is to provide the governor’s office with an opportunity to share their view and provide the reader with a more balanced approach. For space considerations I will have to condense much of their input, but I will make every effort to capture the essence of their responses. I will also take the opportunity to offer my own response to their counterpoints. I’ll leave it to the reader to judge the merits of either side of the debate.

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Democracy finds itself in a shambles as Mad King Donald takes center stage

RTS1JGW31 1024x692Trumpian political tactics are not new to history; just new to an American presidency.
Back in the early 1940s, from 1941 and into 1945, the vice president of the United States was not Harry Truman. The vice president of the United States was a progressive by the name of Henry Wallace.
Wallace actually founded the Progressive Party. A strong supporter of New Deal liberalism, Wallace was considered by many Democrats to be too liberal to remain on the presidential ticket in the upcoming election and was denied re-nomination at the 1944 Democratic National Convention. He was replaced by Harry Truman to run as President Franklin Roosevelt’s running mate and who became president with the death of President Roosevelt in April of 1945.
Why is this relevant, you wonder? It is relevant now more than ever because of the rise of Donald J. Trump. It was Vice President Henry Wallace who warned us about the rise of threats such as Donald J. Trump. It was Vice President Henry Wallace who recognized that the rise of Adolph Hitler could occur any place if citizens are too lazy to care. It was Vice President Henry Wallace who shared way back in 1944 this prescient observation:
“American fascists claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

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Mueller questions

download 2As the suspense mounts regarding whether the leader of the free world will submit to questioning by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the so-called “Russia investigation” and the existence of any “COLLUSION,” I thought it might be helpful to provide our president with some suggested answers to just a few of the 49 questions compiled by Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow. As reported in the New York Times a few weeks back, these 49 questions were crafted by Sekulow from discussions with the Mueller team.
The questions can be broken down into a few categories. These categories include questions related to the actions of and interaction with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, questions regarding conversations with former F.B.I. Director James Comey, questions pertaining to interaction with and decisions made by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, and last, but certainly not least, questions dealing with any coordination by Trump or any members of his campaign (notice I did not use the word “COLLUSION”) with Rusha – I mean Russia).
So, here goes:

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Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?

download 3Larry Hogan is a Republican governor in a very blue state, Maryland, and is running for a second and final term with a favorability rating that has consistently hovered around 70 percent. That favorability rating is second among all governors. Only Republican Charlie Baker of another blue state, Massachusetts, has a higher favorability score.
Does any Democrat have a snowball's chance in hell to unseat this extremely popular incumbent governor? More specifically, does the Democrat who will be selected in the primary election on June 26 from a current field of nine candidates to challenge Governor Hogan in the general election in November have a fighting chance to unseat the incumbent?
The answer is a resounding yes, but only if the campaign focuses on the right issues; issues that will crack that favorability rating wide open and expose the reality of the past four years.

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The press isn’t going to go anywhere, Mr. President

20180509 155426 2 1As a political columnist for the Montgomery County Sentinel, I am fortunate to have a ringside seat to a period in our nation's history like no other.
Still, as interesting and fascinating as I find covering this White House and Congress, it is also frustrating beyond words as the members of the press are subjected to a continuous barrage by both the current president and the members of his press office of misinformation, spin, avoidance, side-stepping, condescension, insults, threats, and downright lies.
I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind to wonder what it would be like if everyone in the White House press room decided enough is enough and simply got up and walked out together, in unison, as one body, in protest. Now, quite honestly, that will never happen, nor should it for some very important reasons.

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A threat to the federal government is a threat to all

NARFE sealI recently had the opportunity to listen to Steve Lenkart address a room full of federal service retirees and his message to them should be of the greatest concern for us all.
Steve has spent the last thirty years in and around the federal government with a specific focus on workforce policy. Among his many roles (not rolls, Mr. President), Steve served as the Executive Director of the Merit Systems Protection Board, to name just one. Steve is also running for president of NARFE.
NARFE stands for National Active and Retired Federal Employees and is an organization that has been at the forefront in the fight to protect the earned benefits of federal employees both active and retired since its inception way back in 1921.
Steve’s presentation was extremely informative and disturbing as well, as it shed light on the threat faced by federal employees from the current administration and Congress.
What should also be noted is that any threat to federal government employees impacts the effectiveness and efficiency of the running of our government and that impacts every American.

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All the news that is unfit to print

20180411 160115News. Fake news. Spin. Propaganda. Left-leaning. Right-leaning. The legitimate press. The dishonest media.
So much to consider when simply trying to find out what is happening in the world. So, let me begin to help distinguish one from the other as we wade through the many possibilities.
Let's start with propaganda or, as it is more commonly referred to, FOX News. Why does FOX News fall into the category of propaganda you ask? Because the very definition of propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”
That is exactly what FOX News does and is. It doesn't use facts to support its mission, which is to support the Trump presidency. It makes up its own facts or, as Kellyanne Conway put it, “alternative facts.” Labeling Special Counsel Robert Mueller as “corrupt” without providing any specifics of what he has done that has not been by the book and completely within the limits of the law is just one example.

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Continuing Trump hypocrisy

Trump Mocking Disabled ReporterA short time ago, President Donald J. Trump was calling for the resignation of Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester. The issue was the treatment of Trump’s nominee to head the Veterans’ Administration, Admiral Ronny Jackson. Senator Tester serves as the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee. That Senate committee is tasked with reviewing the qualifications of the nominee for that cabinet position left vacant with the firing by Trump of Dr. David Shulkin.
Admiral Jackson has since withdrawn his nomination in the midst of the controversy created when certain individuals raised allegations of misconduct on the part of Jackson who, quite famously, also served as the White House physician and has been in that position for the past three presidents.
Rather than try to capture the eloquence of the president’s tweet regarding his call for Senator Tester to resign, I will simply provide it for you here:

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