Posted tagged ‘Mike Pence’

Can One Pander And Also Be A Hypocrite?

October 9, 2017

At Sunday’s NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, played in Indianapolis, Vice President Mike Pence embossed his improbable career path to the commander-in-chief’s seat. Pence who had flown across the country (from California) to attend the game, rose for the national anthem. Standing in his luxury box with hand on heart, before him on the field several 49ers players took a knee (as they had on each previous Sunday and as everyone knew they would this Sunday). Following the anthem, Pence and friends filed out of the stadium.

Later Pence said he and President Trump has discussed this possibility and the President had requested Vice President Pence leave if any players “disrespected” our soldiers, country, or flag. Hmmm.

Pence issued a statement saying “… I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.

The Vice President is an old friend to disrespect. In 2015, as Indiana Governor, Pence signed into law “Bill 101” which legalized discrimination (disrespect) against anyone (including members of our military) under the guise of religious liberty. If you claimed your religious beliefs did not accept members of the GLBT community, anyone would be free to withhold services from those they believed GLBT members. Only after enormous pressure from the sports and business community (over fear of losing millions from public backlash), did Pence agree to removing the onerous parts of the bill.

On Sunday, however, Vice President Pence joined President Trump as co-hypocrites-in-chief by pandering to the faceless white populous groups.  These player protests speak to uneven treatment towards minorities.  People of color overwhelmingly populate professional football, so Pence’s symbolic departure was clear in its intended statement and little to do with his words.

Oh, and as is too often the case, when politicians pontificate about anything to do with the flag, our country, or the military, it is useful to ask a simple question… which branch of the military did you perform your national service?

Sunday showed Vice President Pence was both a “panderer” and a “hypocrite”.

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A Message Worth Repeating

July 1, 2017

The Washington, DC “goings on”, if they were not potentially so serious, would be great amusement. The President has given new life to the word “boorish” ceaselessly demonstrating coarse, tasteless, and crude manners. The President also appears over his head in leading the sprawling executive branch.  The President prefers inviting as much personal flattery as he can coax from his subordinates and supporters. Hmmm.

Not to be outdone, the GOP controlled Congress seems intent upon matching the President’s dysfunction (however not yet his boorishness). This past week the House passed legislation aimed at speeding up the detention and deportation of illegal aliens.

The bill’s sponsors pointed to dangerous criminals like the Salvadorian gang MS-13 as an example of why this legislation was so urgent. MS-13 is a ruthless organization and its members deserve to be deported if not outrightly jailed. But, the estimated 10,000 MS-13 members represent a mere one tenth of one percent of the illegal aliens living in America. Comprehensive immigration reform would seem a more logical priority.   Using MS-13 as the post child for rounding up innocent undocumented aliens is a misuse of the trust Americans place in Congress.

This legislation simply hints at how dysfunctional Congress has become. A better example can be found in the “behind closed doors” debate over healthcare. Republicans have uniformly vilified the Affordable Care Act since its enactment, now find that far more Americans favor the Act than find fault with it. Not surprisingly, Republicans have cried for repeal of Obamacare for years while never expressing what they would offer to replace it. Now that it is their chance to repeal and replace ACA, the GOP cannot agree on what the replace should be.

So why do these themes bear repeating?

Following the President’s recent twitter outburst, President Trump not only showed his boorishness when he attacked two MSNBC talk show hosts, President Trump also brought into question his “mental” fitness for office. For those who do not support Donald Trump as President, the tendency to wonder if he might be removed from office, not through impeachment, but through “fitness to serve” criteria seems promising.

Those who hold this view might say, “who cares, just get the bum out of office”.

While this action may ultimately be necessary, President Trump’s removal is not the panacea it may seem. His successor will be Vice President Pence who will be a non-thinking supporter of the GOP controlled Congress. Repeal legislation would surely pass with a President Pence as would also a huge tax cut for the wealthy.  Ironically, President Trump’s dysfunctional behavior’s unintended consequence has been to delay most legislative action.

Our American democracy is responsible for Donald Trump becoming President. There is no one else to blame but ourselves.

GOP controlled Congress, however, arises largely from “gerrymandering” where House districts’ boundaries were skewed shamelessly to favor GOP candidates. (The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging some of the most egregious district constructs.) In both cases (the Presidency and the Congress), the process to improve functionality begins at the ballot box.

President Trump clearly represents a distraction and potentially a danger to be sure. The Republican Party, on the other hand, is not of one mind (conservatives, libertarians, and moderates) and without a strong opponent like the Democrat Party, the GOP is poised to fracture into warring against each other.

Americans concerned about President Trump should, instead of wishing for a President Pence, focus upon the 2018 election and return control of the Senate or the entire Congress to Democrats, if for no other reason than to minimize the damage until the Presidential election in 2020.

Vice President Pence will not act in a boorish manner, but his cleverness and conservative heart would go well with the current mean-spirited GOP controlled Congress.

Be careful what one wishes for, for our dreams sometimes turn into nightmares.

Should I worry About My Freedom?

May 8, 2017

On National Prayer Day, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the IRS to use “maximum enforcement discretion” when considering a religious tax exempt organization status should the religious organization publicly support a political party or position. In typical Trumpian style, the President boasted of fulfilling another campaign promise. President Trump’s message was a sop to the religious right who complain that they should be able to participate in campaigns without losing their tax exempt status. Hmmm.

Trump’s executive order in effect instructs the IRS to not enforce laws and regulations. Strangely, while as a candidate, Mr Trump strongly criticized former President Obama for not deporting every undocumented alien after then President Obama used an executive order to prioritize deportation. This, of course, is hypocrisy of the most convenient type.

But is the religious freedom executive order a significant threat to my freedom?

Not really at this point. Rather, allowing tax exempt organizations to participate in political activity instead makes suckers out of everyone. The rest of us pay taxes and earn the right to vote. Why shouldn’t religious organizations pay taxes if they want to influence the vote?

A much greater threat emanates from the notion that religious organizations can openly participate in the secular world advocating policies consistent with their ideological or dogmatic views. Sharia law anyone?

Religious organization range from the large (like the Catholic Church) to the small (like evangelical one location mega churches) to the tiny (store front, 100 member or less churches). And in theory, the executive order should apply to any faith even though the same issuer of executive orders has attempted to exclude Muslims from the US. I wonder how much discretion the IRS will use on them?

All Americans are free to hold opinions and are encouraged to use the ballot box to express these opinions. If enough Americans agree, election results reflect these views. Fortunately, we also have laws, supported by the Constitution which drive secular behavior. So, a store cannot choose to sell a product or service to one person (say a white) and deny the same product or service to another (say a black). And no amount of reality stretching can construe religious freedom can encompass this type of discrimination.

Or does this Trump executive order portend discrimination on a wide range of “freedoms”.

Vice President Pence, then Indiana Governor, has past experience in supporting  “religious freedom” legislation. Indiana passed a law, under the cover of respecting “deeply held religious views” of those good Indianians who reject same sex marriage. Had not the sports world promised to abandon Indianapolis financially, Pence was prepared to sign the law.

Religious organizations are just that. They are organization which market a set of beliefs to the public (and collect money from believers. Many, but not all, religious organization peddle dogma which limit or takes away freedom from others in the name of a “deeply held religious view”. Reproductive health, same sex marriage, gender identity, alcohol and caffeine, immunizations, and blood transfusions are a few bans that certain religion would make into restrictive law if they could.

Since no one is required to use contraceptives or have an abortion, or to marry someone of their same sex, or drink alcohol and coffee, or accept immunizations (except in public health situations) or receive a blood transfusion (even in life saving events), religions are better served to sell their beliefs to their members and leave everyone else alone.

Allowing one religion to foster its unique views in an attempt to influence the ballot box is a threat to my freedoms, not to mention a violation of the Constitution.

Hillary’s Move

July 17, 2016

GOP presumptive Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, announced his pick for Vice President, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Most view Trump’s pick as politically wise and much out of character for Trump to go “establishment”. For the Republican establishment, there was an audible sigh of relief.

The pick also telegraphed Trump’s willingness to do whatever is necessary to win the Presidential election. Pence, a one term Governor and otherwise a quite boring personality, faced a difficult reelection battle for all the right reasons.

Pence had during his term ushered in tax cuts and “religious freedom” legislation. The State now has major fiscal difficulties and Pence had to back track on the religious freedom bill when major businesses threaten to leave the State if the law stood. There were better VP picks but other than Christie and Gingrich, no one else seemed that interested.

Trump can now send Pence off to pander to the evangelicals and “less taxes” groups while he sits back and throws bombs at the Democrat ticket. GOP supporters will be more ready to accept Trump and overlook his inaccuracies (lies?) with Pence on board.

Hillary Clinton’s turn to name a VP pick is next. Wise and safe picks like Labor Secretary Tom Perez or Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will have to be rethought. Will the resulting ticket be exciting enough to motivate the Democrat base? Will it be dynamic enough to energize former Bernie Sanders supporters?

Mike Pence’s selection also foresees an electoral college showdown. Trump is aiming to get all the usual “red” States and win the key battleground States. Hillary should do well with women, African Americans, GLBTs, and Hispanics. Will that be enough?

Logic would suggest Clinton should win in a walk (after a good scare). The GOP platform is a recipe for the past, open season on discrimination, and a pot of gold for America’s wealthy. But with Hillary’s high “mistrust” poll numbers, how can she make these points?  If not, who can help?

Elizabeth Warren anyone?