The Universal Notebook: Our outlaw government

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Our government is horribly corrupt and I don’t just mean those sorry individuals elected to do the peoples’ business. I mean the whole rotten system.

It’s bad enough that we have dishonest people like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan in positions of power, but it is now clear that the machinery of government itself is broken and in drastic need of reform and repair, perhaps even repeal and replacement.

In recent days we have been forced to watch as Republicans in Congress, who no longer stand for anything other than mean-spiritedness and small-mindedness, conspire on a tax plan in the form of a budget resolution larded with cynical riders that have nothing whatsoever to do with either taxes or budgets.

Want to let your corporate masters drill for filthy oil in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Easy-peasy. Stick a rider on an appropriations bill like Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, did. Sick, but SOP. And Murkowski is one of the so-called “good” Republicans.

The interests of good government and transparency would be better served if elected representatives presented clean bills to bipartisan public hearings and proposals were voted up or down based on their merits. These days it’s hard to know what your elected rep voted for or against or why, because bills are so encumbered by extraneous partisan riders.

Six years ago, Congress voted to ban earmarks – pork-barrel spending appropriations attached to unrelated bills – because senators and representatives were sticking billions in favorite local projects into appropriation bills. The ban on earmarks still stands, but for how long is anyone’s guess. But the point is, Congress can and should do the same thing with appropriation riders.

There is simply no reason, for example, why a repeal of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans could not accomplish honestly, should be allowed as a rider on a tax/budget bill. They tried public execution by firing squad, electric chair and beheading. Now they are trying to kill Obamacare by stabbing the American people in the back. It’s totally underhanded and dishonest.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins knew this, but last week she sold us out, voting to support party rather than the people of Maine. And Collins is one of the so-called “good” Republicans.

Talk about dishonesty: Trump and his troglodyte followers have the audacity to call the GOP tax bill the biggest tax cut in U.S. history. Check your facts, Donnie; both Reagan and Obama passed larger tax cuts. And, please stop calling the GOP plan a “middle-class” tax cut. At least be honest enough to call it what it is – a massive upward redistribution of wealth.

To borrow a phrase from Ivanka Trump, there is a special place in hell reserved for people who take money away from children and the poor and give it to corporations and the rich – which is all the GOP plan does. But that’s what the GOP tax plan does, along with ballooning the deficit by $1.5 trillion. And Ivanka is the “good” Trump.

The power of committee chairs and congressional leaders to prevent bills from being heard and voted upon is another area of sanctioned corruption that needs to be purged. The refusal of Mitch McConnell and the Republican-controlled Senate to even consider Obama’s lawful nomination of Merrick Garland for a seat on the Supreme Court made a total mockery of the U.S. Constitution. A sitting president nominated a jurist with bipartisan support and impeccable credentials, but GOP leaders wiped their dirty feet on the Constitution and refused to even meet with Garland, let alone hold confirmation hearings.

Just as I do not recognize Trump as the legitimate president of the United States because of the circumstances of his election, I do not recognize interloper Neil Gorsuch as a legitimate Supreme Court justice because he is sitting in Merrick Garland’s seat. No honorable man or woman would have agreed to join the court under such sleazy circumstances. And Neil is the “good” Gorsuch; his mother had to resign as director of the EPA after being cited for contempt of Congress.

I also no longer recognize the Republican Party as a legitimate political party sincerely interested in solving public problems. It has become an outlaw enterprise that will stop at nothing to undermine public education, environmental protection, public health, economic justice, foreign policy and the rule of law in this country in order to benefit the corporate oligarchy it exists to serve.

The U.S. government in 2017 operates like a criminal conspiracy to enrich the wealthy, a conspiracy supported by Republicans, Russian hackers, Wikileaks fugitives, alt-right extremists, conspiracy theorists, religious fundamentalists, white nationalists, Wall Street sharks and gold-plated Trumpian toadies.

There are no “good” Republicans anymore.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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  • peterplus

    Sue Collins is just another pig who has broken the covenant for this pig president. Republicans, too cowardly to stand up to trump’s lies after installing a moron in the white house, have broken the covenant that has held this country together. Part of that covenant held that no matter how wealthy the privileged became, the working class families would be protected from the greed and hoarding of the rich. That was destroyed by republicans some time ago with their fatuous ‘trickle down’ economics, and as a result most of the working class are now the working poor. What we are seeing now is just the final chapters leading to the end of our civilization. Every civilization since the beginning of time fell for essentially the same reason– when the gap between the wealthy and the poor became too great. The sad part of this is that so many working class people believed a spoiled rich pig president would actually look out for them. They allowed themselves to be conned. The good news is that there are far better countries when you can take your family.

    • Charles Martel

      You should be the first to move.

      • peterplus

        i moved a long time ago to get away from morons like you.

        • Charles Martel

          There are many pity ways to describe Leftists. One of my favorites is: “A liberal is a person who will give you the shirt off someone else’s back.” 2nd is, “Liberalism is a mental disorder.” That should be enough for now.

          • Ted Markow

            I don’t quite fit all the definitions of liberalism, but given the variety of definitions below, I’ll bet you fit in there somewhere too.

            I have an idea – instead of coming up with pithy descriptions for each other, how about we just see each other “fellow Americans” or “fellow citizens”? That puts our nation over our ideologies…unless ideology is more important to you.

            liberalism (lĭbˈər-ə-lĭzˌəm, lĭbˈrə-)

            From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition:
            n. The state or quality of being liberal.
            n. A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority.
            n. The tenets or policies of a Liberal party.
            n. An economic theory in favor of laissez-faire, the free market, and the gold standard.
            n. A 19th-century Protestant movement that favored free intellectual inquiry, stressed the ethical and humanitarian content of Christianity, and de-emphasized dogmatic theology.
            n. A 19th-century Roman Catholic movement that favored political democracy and ecclesiastical reform but was theologically orthodox.

            From Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License:
            n. The quality of being liberal.
            n. Any political movement founded on the autonomy and personal freedom of the individual, progress and reform, and government by law with the consent of the governed.
            n. An economic theory in favour of laissez faire and the free market.

            From The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia:
            n. Liberal principles; the principles or practice of liberals; freedom from narrowness or bigotry, especially in matters of religion or politics.
            n. Specifically, the political principles of a Liberal party.

          • Moishe the Beadle

            I absolutely agree. However, these definitions describe a “classical liberal” which, for example, President Kennedy was. However, the liberalism of today has evolved into something much different. Classical liberalism is an ideal. When we speak of liberals today we’re referring to progressives, leftists or socialists who have taken over the Democrat Party..

          • Ted Markow

            So…wait a minute. I posted to Charles Martel and you answer as if I wrote to you? Is Kevin right – you are one and the same?

            If so, it’s lower than I expected and makes me even more proud to be a progressive with socialist tendencies. And no, we haven’t taken over the Democratic Party – not yet. We’re still getting a lot of resistance from the “classical liberals” within the DP and the media.

          • Moishe the Beadle

            You and Bernie Sanders. Doesn’t bode well for you, Ted.

            Btw, Moishe could be Charles’s alter-ego much like Allah was Muhammad’s alter-ego…..but, you can keep guessing.

          • Ted Markow

            Well, you and Charles and all the rest of your shady alter-egos have proven that you can’t raise the consciousness by lowering the bar.

            Thanks for playing.

          • Moishe the Beadle

            I’m not done yet and won’t be going away.

    • Little crow

      The only covenant we have is our Constitution, and we’d be a lot better off if we stuck to its principles. There is no “covenant” to protect you from greed. That’s your responsibility.

      • peterplus

        This was a valid point, Little Crow, that became wholly invalid once our government began bailing out the wall street princes and granting welfare in the name of tax breaks for the great hoarding corporations that now own what remains of our democracy.

      • peterplus

        That is a valid point, Little Crowe, that was made wholly invalid when our government began bailing out the wall street princes and granting welfare in the form of tax breaks to the great hoarding corporations that own what remains of our democracy.

    • Hooter

      Get back on your meds my friend.

  • JohnQCitizen

    Edgar,
    You are a bonafide partisan and lunatic. That’s all I have to say after reading this ridiculous opinion piece! That’s all my friend.

    • EdBeem

      Partisan, yes. That’s kind of the point of an opinion column. Lunatic? Republicans elected a lunatic POTUS.

      • Charles Martel

        Hmmmmm, Fusion GPS, Uranium One, Comey, Peter Strzok, Mueller, crooked Hillary & the Clinton Foundation, deep state, non-Russian collusion, the dossier, etc. are the topics of the day, Ed. Where have you been?

  • ZMB792

    Author, the personal mandate can be repealed because it was legally found to be a TAX by supreme court. 4 libs and NeoConJob Jon Roberts.

    • EdBeem

      Of course it can, but that doesn’t make it right. The GOP tried to kill the ACA repeatedly and couldn’t muster the votes, so they slip the mandate into a tax bill. And they’ll defund the subsidies. Dirty tricks are what they are good at. It should be clear to every reasonable American that the Republicans in Congress are lapdogs of the rich and corporate stooges. They do not care about the American people at all.

      • ZMB792

        I reviewed the passage again. You simply state there is no reason the repeal should be allowed as a rider or amendment on a Tax bill. do you see the conflict? It appears you are misleading the reader.

        If you can’t address tax issues in a Tax law when can it be done?

        • EdBeem

          I get your point, but surely you are not suggesting that tucking things like mandate repeal, oil drilling or tax-exemption for Betsy DeVos favorite college into a tax reform plan is a goof faith effort to make sensible public policy. It’s just a cynical backdoor way to achieve things lawmakers couldn’t when addressing them head on. No riders.

          • David R. Hill

            “Goof faith effort.” Sometimes a typo is more accurate than the intended verbiage.

      • Queenie42

        And Sen. Grasley thinks we are spending all our money on booze and women. WTF!
        Let’s face it. Our Constitution gives us no protection when Republicans, who control government would rather see our country go under than to lose corporate funding. May they all rot in h*ll.
        Resist.

  • Charles Martel

    “You do not recognize Trump as the legitimate president of the United States…” I hate to say it but you’re a fopdoodle and constitutional conservatives don’t agree with your nasty, socialist, big government, progressive ideology. Most of DC is corrupt, but Trump is not a swamp dweller. We can thank NerO for $trillions in debt and a divided country. The Hildabest would’ve only been a worse continuation of his Muslim-Marxist policies.

    • Queenie42

      Constitutional conservatives? That’s a joke, right? Trump thinks he’s king and above the law proving he has no inkling what he is doing in a government with three equal branches. Republicans in the house and senate only care about and do the bidding of their corporate donors, a big FU to the rest of us they are supposed to be representing and the Supreme Court seems hellbent on protecting corporations, calling them people and deciding against ordinary citizens.
      Tell me, bub, just what is conservative in your ideology that makes it ok to destroy public lands or to stop treatment on children with cancer? What twisted mentality thinks that is fair and just?
      No, nothing but a bunch of white nationalists otherwise known as Nazis. You know what you can do with your symbols and your flags and your evil wish to see our nation destroyed. Put them where the sun don’t shine loudmouth.

      • Charles Martel

        Don’t forget about pushing old ladies in wheel chairs over a cliff, we all want dirty water and air or the narrative that the rich have to pay their fair share of taxes. Why don’t we just wait and see how this Russia collusion “investigation” shakes out? I suspect you’ll be on the verge of going over a cliff yourself by then.

        • Queenie42

          Man, you are so mixed up. I bet your mama told you to lay off that stuff. It was Richard Widmark who pushed the old lady, NOT over a cliff but down a flight of stairs in a MOVIE “Kiss of Death” in 1947. That was make believe, bub.
          In real life, in Charlottesville, it was James Alex Fields who rammed his car into a group of people, killing a young woman. In real life it was Christopher Cantwell who said…”a lot more will die” and then was filmed sobbing like a baby when caught.
          Those two and a whole lot more of goose-stepping white nationalist morons, the ones you seem to admire and try to emulate with your thinly veiled threats of old ladies going over a cliff are what I was referring to. Nice try but we are not impressed.

          • Charles Martel

            Here you go, genius:

          • Queenie42

            Click bait much? No thanks, Mr. Fascist.

          • Moishe the Beadle

            At least I got a Mr. “The debate is lost when slander becomes the tool of the loser.” -Socrates

          • Kevin McCarthy

            Charles Martel and Moishe the Beadle are the same person. He has previously put dishonesty and bigotry on full display posting under the name of “Kafir 911.” The fact that he’s using one of his aliases to support his own comment tells all you need to know.

  • danmaine

    Outlaw Government: Both parties have sold us out but Obama’s achievements were atrocious. We had to live with his lawlessness for 8 years, it is quite enjoyable watching you flame out Mr Beam! Obama’s achievements listed below:

    First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.
    First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
    First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.
    First President to violate the War Powers Act.
    First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
    First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.
    First President to spend a trillion dollars on “shovel-ready” jobs when there was no such thing as “shovel-ready” jobs.
    First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.
    First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.
    First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions.
    First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.
    First President to tell a CEO of a major corporation (Chrysler) to resign.
    First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.
    First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer and to say that America is no longer a Christian nation.
    First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.
    First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.
    First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases.
    First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.
    First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).
    First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.
    First President to actively try to bankrupt an American industry (coal).
    First President to fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.
    First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office.
    First President to surround himself with radical left wing anarchists.
    First President to golf more than 150 separate times in his five years in office.
    First President to hide his birth, medical, educational and travel records.
    First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.
    First President to go on multiple “global apology tours” and concurrent “insult our friends” tours.
    First President to go on over 17 lavish vacations, in addition to date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayers.
    First President to have personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.
    First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.
    First President to fly in a personal trainer from Chicago at least once a week at taxpayer expense.
    First President to repeat the Holy Quran and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth
    First President to side with a foreign nation over one of the American 50 states (Mexico vs Arizona).
    First President to tell the military men and women that they should pay for their own private insurance because they “volunteered to go to war and knew the consequences.”
    Then he was the First President to tell the members of the military that THEY were UNPATRIOTIC for balking at the last suggestion. (Thank God he didn’t get away with THIS one.)
    The first president to allow Iran to inspect their own facilities.
    The first president to have blood on his hands from Benghazi to the assassinations of several police officers.
    First president to trade 5 terrorists for a traitor
    First president to facilitate the Iranians to acquire nuclear weapons.
    First president to light up the White House in rainbow colors to honor men that lust after other men’s rear ends.
    First president to put young children in danger by forcing states to allow men in women’s restroom and showers.
    First president to marry a man.
    First president to smoke crack cocaine in the White House.

  • Ted Markow

    OK, DISQUS has thrown two of my comments down the memory hole, so I’ll give it a last shot.

    Greg Kesich had something interesting to say in today’s PPH:

    “It’s understandable that people are angry at Collins for her vote, but being mad at Republicans for sticking to Republican principles seems a little pointless.

    “We have a two-party system, and one of the parties has made it clear what it believes in. If the other party has anything to say, it should speak up.”

    http://www.pressherald.com/2017/12/06/greg-kesich-dont-like-collins-tax-cut-vote-pony-up-a-real-platform/

    Seems like he might be pointing out another part of the “whole rotten system.”

    And this from the book, ‘What we do now – Standing up for your values in Trump’s America’, points at another part of the whole rotten system:

    “…did 42 percent of American women really vote for a man who threatened to overturn Roe v. Wade and who bragged about grabbing them by the p#ssy [edited to get by the DISQUS censor]? Did the white working class really elect a man whose most famous catchphrase was ‘You’re fired’? Like a teenager with poor self-esteem, the American people had chosen the flashy and abusive boyfriend over the steady, boring one. ‘We’ve had enough decency for one decade,’ the electorate decided. ‘Give us chaos.'”

  • Little crow

    Wow. You sure dumped a bucketload of hate this week.

    I’ll agree that there’s a lot of the corruption you mention, but you seem to have missed Obama’s use of the FBI and the IRS as a political tool to punish his opponents; how he supplied Mexican drug gangs with machine guns in the Fast and Furious scandal; how he and Hillary Clinton went AWOL during a crisis in Benghazi while our ambassador and staff were tortured, murdered and dragged through the the streets; and then made an illegal treaty with Iran, supplying them with $150 billion to continue their nuclear missile program which they intend to use to kill us.

    And please explain how Mr. Trump is not legitimate. The special counsel has been using Gestapo tactics for a year in search of a crime, and has produced nothing, while ignoring the collusion between the Clinton campaign and the Kremlin to sabotage the Trump campaign.

    It might help your blood pressure if you would refrain from assigning evil motives to those who disagree with you. Yes, there are bad people out there, but most of us really want the same thing, but disagree on how to get there.

    • EdBeem

      The GOP spent two years and $7 million “investigating” Benghazi and came up with no finding of wrongdoing, just a handful of partisan dog dirt. Mueller will be putting people in jail and may make a case for obstruction of justice against a sitting president. Personally, I believe Trump and his administration are treading very close to treason.

      • Moishe the Beadle

        We’ll see.

  • Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to Writer Beat? There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and found this article insightful. I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. You can learn more about Writer Beat by checking out my profile or just say “sure” and I’ll handle the rest.

    • EdBeem

      Sure. Be my guest.

      • Many thanks for your contribution to Writer Beat. I anticipate this article getting a lot of comment activity.

      • Your article is currently ranked 6th and generating some comment activity. Any interest in engaging your commenters?

        • EdBeem

          Can you provide a link? And maybe tell us a bit about Writer Beat? I did check it out yesterday, but I’m not sure exactly who/what it is. Thanks.

          • I can’t provide a link, Disqus will block it. To chat about Writer Beat, kindly send me an email (my email is in my Disqus profile).

          • EdBeem

            Let’s try anyway.http://writerbeat.com/

          • My links keep getting deleted. To login to Writer Beat, please use the following:

            email: beem (at) writerbeat (dot) com
            password: wirterbeat

          • EdBeem

            Please tell me a bit about what Writer Beat is. I see one of the commenters is an alt-right type.

          • Writer Beat is an open platform for people to say whatever they like. The way I look at it starting a blog is easy, the hard part is finding people to read it. We do the hard part for you.

          • EdBeem

            Between Facebook and the Forecaster I get plenty of feedback and grief, so I’m not really looking for any more. But thanks.

  • peterplus

    Mr. Beem, judging by the comments of your detractors, they lack the basic intelligence required to understand what I am about to tell you. However, I am compelled to tell you anyway. I believe you should accept trump and roy moore—both confirmed sexual predators, pigs and morons— as the perfect leaders of the Republican party. A party they will eventually lead to destruction.
    Let that issue rest and turn your attention to a wider truth: Any nation that permits every imbecile to march around with an assault rifle is doomed. Any nation that grants welfare to corporate hoarders who deny their workers a living wage (somewhere around $30 an hour is required to sustain a viable middle class) is doomed. Any nation who sends her young sons and daughters to fight wars that divide the country rather than uniting it, is doomed. Any nation with a Congress composed of cowards who lack the courage to remove a pig president from the white house is doomed. Any nation that denies the effects of climate change and continues to rest her future on fossil fuels is doomed. Any nation that puts her young people in debt for life for an education is doomed. Any nation that fails to honor her teachers by paying them a living wage is doomed. And if you need further proof that America is drowning in ignorance, read your detractors’ comments.

    • EdBeem

      And I thought I had it bad. Yes, the future looks bleak, but I have to believe we can correct our mistakes. That’s why I write this column every week. Trump, of course, is the greatest mistake this country has ever made.

  • Hooter

    Holy Cow!
    A lot of hate on this thread. The progressives appear to be coming apart at the seams. Al Franken gone. Bernie Sanders gone as soon as his wife gets indicted. Who’s left? Liawatha? The economy is smokin’ boys, and that is all anyone with a brain cares about. Prediction: Trump wins 40 states in 2020. Any takers?

    • EdBeem

      Trump will not complete one term. There is jail time in the future of some in his administration. Money is all Republicans care about. The rest of care about decency, honor, justice, the environment and humanity.