Sunday, February 19, 2017

Town Hall questions

[Edit 2/23. A fourth question has been added below about new set of immigration executive orders.]

This blog entry sets forth comments and questions regarding the tele-town hall of Rep. Gary Palmer (AL06) held on February 16th. An audio of the town hall can be heard at https://vekeo.com/event/usrepresentativegarypalmer-30691/.

I think most Americans are similarly situated and have similar interests relative to many of the important issues that were asked about in the town hall, including concerning Obamacare (and its repeal and replacement), Medicare, Social Security, education, jobs, infrastructure, regulations, energy, the environment, and the debt. On these issues, there is little basis for deep partisan divide (polarization) among average Republicans, average Democrats and Independents.

Some of the issues have trade offs. Most Americans are similarly situated regarding the trade offs, and the trade offs should not be a source of deep partisan divide as prevents a compromise balancing and resolution of the trade offs. While these issues that have trade offs ought not be a source of deep partisan divide, nonetheless deep partisan divide gets manifested on the issues.

For example, there are trade offs between energy and the environment. Most Americans (Republicans, Democrats and independents) are exposed in the same way to that trade off (i.e., all Americans need energy and most Americans want to pass on a decent environment to succeeding generations). There ought not to be deep partisan divide that prevents reaching a compromise resolution of the trade off, but nonetheless a deep partisan divide (polarization) gets manifested.

Some of the issues have differing generational perspectives, such as questions of reducing current Social Security benefits, or the "mandate"  under Obamacare. Again, though, in such cases there should not be a basis for a deep partisan divide.

All in all, it seems that there there has been growing polarization (hyperpartisanship)  for 20 years or more, which polarization is greater than objectively warranted given the similarity of the interests of most Americans.

Many think this hyperpartisanship has resulted in very substantial impairment of Congress doing its job properly for the American people.

A fair characterization of the Obama years was obstructionism by the Republicans.

Now the Democrats are taking up obstructionism against Donald Trump and the Republicans.

After one month of the Trump administration, many think that the country is more divided than it has ever been during the past thirty years.

Questions for Rep. Palmer:
1. To what extent do you agree with the above analysis that most Americans are similarly situated and have similar interests relative to many important issues for the country, and that there is a political polarization that is not warranted in light of how most Americans are similarly situated on the important issues?
2. Do you believe there has been political polarization in recent years that has impaired Congress in doing its job properly for the American people?
3. Do you think the way Donald Trump conducted his campaign, and the way he has conducted his Presidency in the first month, if the same is continued going forward, will deepen the political polarization in the country? Or do you think the way Donald Trump has conducted his Presidency in the first month, if continued, will work towards lessening the hyperpartisanship in the country?
4. [added 2/23] Does the second set of Donald Trump's immigration executive orders unnecessarily exacerbate partisan division that will make the job of Congress harder, and could Congress help the situation by doing its job and passing comprehensive immigration reform (as should have been done during the Obama years)?

Edit 7/19 Abortion issue
I contend that the Republican party establishment uses the abortion issue to keep the electorate polarized and benefit itself. Those whose stated goal is to outlaw abortion in the United States need to explain why it is intolerable for them to life in a society in which others can choose to have an abortion.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thursday town hall

To: Representative Palmer
Regarding your telephone town hall this Thursday, please, if you would, talk about Trump, Flynn, and Obamacare. Should Congress censure President Trump? See Censure. Thank you.
Update 2/15 Flynn is out because he lost the trust of the President. Would you please comment on whether you think the President has started to lose the trust of the American people? Thank you


YOU'RE INVITED!
On Valentine's Day, Tell Congress: Let's Make a Date! Hold a Town Hall Meeting with Constituents!
WHERE:REP. GARY PALMER'S OFFICE  (IN BHAM)
WHEN:TOMORROW, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 12:00 PM
WHAT:
 Rally to Tell Congress: Let's Make a Date! Hold a Town Hall Meeting with Constituents!
As Trump launches terrorizing immigration sweeps, gives handouts to Wall Street, and rushes forward the Dakota Access Pipeline—all while attacking our nation's courts and our health care and pushing through more dangerous Cabinet picks—we deserve the chance to meet publicly with our representatives to discuss these vital issues for our democracy.

But many lawmakers haven't yet scheduled town hall meetings with their constituents for the February congressional recess, which begins this weekend.
Every member of Congress needs to meet with constituents face to face, in accessible, public meetings. That's why tomorrow, Valentine's Day, Tuesday, February 14, we'll visit our senators and representatives' local offices with a clear demand: "Let's Make a Date! Host a Town Hall Meeting!"
Will you join MoveOn members and allies for a special Valentine's Day rally tomorrow in Bham to tell Congress: "Let's Make a Date! Hold a Town Hall Meeting!"?
A person holding a sign!YES, I'LL BE THERE!People holding signs!
I can't make it, but show me other events near me.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Alabamians tweeting against Trump

[Revised 6/2]
ALABAMIANS TWEETING AGAINST DONALD TRUMP IN SENATE ELECTION

TO: As many Alabamians as we can tweet to

President Trump is unique in not being a professional politician and not coming from the military.

In the election campaign, as President-Elect, and as President for four months, he has conducted himself in ways that are outside the norm for politicians. Not changing his ways as President is becoming disturbing for many Americans, because his conduct seems threatening to undermine the Presidential office and impair the country's governance.

With the Comey firing and with Trump's meeting with the Russian diplomats, President Trump, in the eyes of many, has become a runaway train. The Republicans are not standing up to President, and, at the moment, it appears only the people can stand up to President Trump by electing a Congress in 2018 that will act against President Trump.

Alabamians can make a start on this by making this year's special election to fill Jeff Sessions' Senate seat a referendum on President Trump. The primary is on August 15th, any runoff will be on September 26th, and the general election will be on December 12th.

To make the election a referendum on President Trump, Alabamians need to pressure the Republican and Democratic candidates in the election to speak out against President Trump. We are conducting this tweeting campaign in Alabama to try to cause that to happen.

Here is our case against President Trump:

1. Government officials are not supposed to use their public office for their own profit, and they are subject to "conflict of interest" rules to help assure that they act for the public interest and not their private interest. President Trump is taking the position that the exemption of the President in the "conflicts of interest" statute means he can do whatever he wants with his businesses, including use the Presidential office to benefit his businesses, and disregard the important policies served by "conflict of interest" rules. This is exacerbated by President Trump not abiding by the norm of releasing his tax returns, as provides transparency for discovering conflicts of interest. Congress needs to decide whether President Trump is entitled to operate outside the norm of those rules and if not, Congress needs to delve into President Trump's myriad conflicts of interest and pass a resolution censuring President Trump for wrongful conduct as Congress deems appropriate in the circumstances. This would cover determining whether "pay to play" corruption, such as candidate Trump crucified the Clintons for in the election, has been or will be fostered. President Trump's recent decision that the White House visitor logs shall be kept secret gives more reason for Congress to be concerned about President Trump's conflicts of interest and lack of transparency.  Perhaps President Trump's most egregious use of the Presidential office to benefit himself and his family is his seeking repeal of the estate tax in the tax plan he announced on April 26th.

2. President Trump is outside the norm in the way he speaks with disregard of truth and facts and how he uses grossly inaccurate hyperbole and says so many different things at different times. Not only do people not know what to believe, many can wonder what President Trump himself believes. President Trump is getting to the point where he has no credibility. For example, President Trump said on  April 27th that economic growth would make up for the lost revenue from the sweeping tax cut plan he outlined yesterday. This is of immense importance for the country, and President Trump himself may not believe what he says. To have a President that people don't know what he believes is a big problem, and Congress needs to consider whether President Trump is so far outside the norm in how he disregards truth and facts that he is impairing the country's governance of itself.

3. President Trump's gratuitous, insulting, hyperbolic, and vitriolic verbal attacks on individual persons, on organizations and institutions, and even on foreign countries and officials are excessive in the extreme. These attacks exacerbate divisions in the country and can adversely affect foreign relations. Congress needs to decide whether President Trump is so far out of bounds that Congress needs to tell him to stop it.

4. Politicians are known to lie, be hypocritical, and have double standards, but politicians generally seek to minimize this happening, they squirm and sweat when they are called out, and there is ultimately some constraint over them. President Trump, however, is outside the norm in the outrageous brazen extremes of his lying, hypocrisy and double standards, he does not squirm or sweat, and he gives the impression that everything he does is perfectly ok. If President Trump is incapable of recognizing some things he does are wrong, and he thinks only other people are wrong, Congress needs to decide whether it should formally tell President Trump otherwise.

5. President Trump's lack of self control and impulsiveness are outside the norm for Presidents. This could cause serious problems, and Congress needs to decide whether it should call this to the attention of President Trump.

6. President Trump is evidencing an autocratic and authoritarian mode of governing that is outside the norm (such as his implementing his America First policy by directly contacting companies to tell them not to move plants outside of United States). This may improperly transgress the proper separation of powers. Congress needs to consider the same and tell President Trump what Congress thinks. President Trump's recent decision that the White House visitor logs shall be kept secret gives more reason for Congress to be concerned about President Trump's autocratic and authoritarian mode of governing.

7. In the election, candidate Trump publicly asked the Russians to interfere in a way to help him get elected. Although he was not President at the time, Congress needs to decide whether asking the Russians to interfere was a sufficiently wrongful act that President Trump should be censured for it now. (See Smartest colluders.)

President Trump is 70 years old. He may be fixated in old ways from his business career, and these ways may be very bad for the Presidency and impair the country's governance. His aides appear unable to tell President Trump that he is doing anything wrong, and the country is witnessing the spectacle of his aides having to defend the indefensible of President Trump's conduct. When the press tries to point out wrong things President Trump does, he just says "fake news" and press "totally dishonest."

President Trump has become a runaway train. The Republicans are not standing up to him. The American people can stand up to Trump by electing a Congress in 2018 that will stand up against President Trump. Alabamians can make a start on this by making this year's special election to fill Jeff Sessions' Senate seat a referendum on President Trump.

Contribute to this goal by sending tweets to candidates and also tweets to the Alabama legislative delegation by clicking on the links in Step One below.

To contribute to a "pyramiding" of tweets so that thousands of Alabamians and others come to this webpage and participate in this tweeting, do as instructed in Step Two below.

Step One
Click on the below link to send a tweet which says "To #AlSen candidates: President Trump needs to be stopped. You need to speak up." The tweet will have a link to this webpage and contain and show up under the Twitter hashtags #AlSen #AlabamiansagainstTrump and #alpolitics. The tweet will not be sent until you click "tweet."
Tweet here to AL Senate candidates as group

Click on the below links to send tweets to Senators Shelby and Strange and to Alabama Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell. by clicking on the below links. The tweet you send will say "I think Congress should censure President Trump." The tweet will have a link to this blog entry, and will contain, and show up under, the Twitter hashtags #AlabamiansforCensure and #alpolitics.

Tweet here to Senator Shelby
Tweet here to Senator Strange
Tweet here to Rep. Byrne
Tweet here to Rep. Roby
Tweet here to Rep. Rogers
Tweet here to Rep. Alderholt
Tweet here to Rep. Brooks
Tweet here to Rep. Palmer
Tweet here to Rep. Sewell

Step Two
Send individual tweets to other Alabamians, which tweets have a link to this page. This will be to try to get other Alabamians to come to this page and send their own tweets to the Senate candidates and to Senators Shelby and Strange and to Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell. and, after that, to join in sending tweets to more Alabamians. The goal here to get a large amount of "pyramiding" of tweets going.

A suggested tweet message to send to other Alabamians is:
Alabamians need to use the AL Senate election to stop Donald Trump.
http://al6thcongdist-ihaveuntiljan13.blogspot.com/2017/02/alabamians-for-censure.html
Then you need to find follower lists of other Twitter accounts in your geographic location that have a lot of followers. For example, if you live in the Jefferson County/Shelby County geographic area, the below would be examples of good Twitter follower lists to use:
https://twitter.com/GreaterShelby/followers
https://twitter.com/OTMJ_Life/followers
https://twitter.com/HomewoodHigh/followers
https://twitter.com/TrussTribune/followers

FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR TWEETING
A. General
This tweeting involves a non-standard use of Twitter, namely, the sending of large numbers of individually directed tweets to followers of other Twitter accounts (not your own followers).
A ground has been staked out with Twitter for this method of tweeting. See letter to Twitter @Support.
B. How to send your tweets efficiently
In doing your tweeting, you are repetitively sending the same tweet message. This can be done very efficiently, at least on a laptop computer. Get the tweet message on your mouse clipboard, go to the follower list  you are using for your tweeting, start with the first person on the list you want to tweet to, and do this:
1. Right click on person's Twitter name.
2. Choose "open in new tab"
3. Go to the new tab.
4. Click on the "Tweet to" button.
5. Paste the tweet message in the box.
6. Hit the "Tweet" button.
7. Close the tab, which takes you back to the list
8. Go on to next person, and repeat above steps.
You should be able to send 35 to 70 tweets in a half hour. Send as many tweets as you are willing to. Don't worry about any duplication that you think may arise.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Censure (supplement)

TO: Representative Gary Palmer, Alabama 6th Congressional district

This supplements the preceding Censure entry.

A. Impeachment effort already underway
An impeachment effort is already underway, as reported in this January 27, 2017 article Hundreds of Thousands Sign Petition to Impeach Trump for Violating Constitution over Biz Interests.The impeachment effort is being led by the organizations Free Speech for People and RootsAction.

B. Please answer the below
NBC News reports the following about Rep. Chaffetz yesterday  ‘Do Your Job!’: Rep. Jason Chaffetz Faces Angry Town Hall Crowd in Utah.

I tweeted you the video in the report and asked about the President's oath of office and "faithfully."
As the video in the link shows, Rep. Chaffetz does not get beyond saying, as to President Trump, he is exempt from the "conflicts of interest" statute. 

Can you please answeer: Have you raised with Rep. Chaffetz and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee the questions I posed for you in November, to wit:
1. What is the relationship between the constitutional oath of office to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and the exemption for the President that is provided in the "conflicts of interest" statute? What does the word "faithfully" mean in the constitutional oath of office? Can President Trump do anything he wants in service of the interests of his businesses and his family, or does the word "faithfully" limit what President Trump can do?
2. If the word "faithfully" limits what President Trump can do, do you think President Trump understands that?
3. What is the role of Congress in overseeing whether the President is "faithfully" executing his office? Can Congress impeach the President if it determines that the President has failed to faithfully execute his office? What if the President has one view of what "faithfully" means, and Congress has a differing view?
Can you please provide some information on this, Rep. Palmer?

C. Bigger picture
The novel case of President Trump and his businesses raises big picture questions of how governance and electoral politics are going to be conducted in the country.

President Trump is opaque about ideas he may have, but there are inklings.

One inkling is President Trump's "art of the deal" mentality and his picking of individual companies to "target" and "negotiate" with personally for implementing his policies. This is novel in a President.

This form of governance is autocratic and needs contrasting with regular modes of governance by the Executive Branch. The regular modes start with Congress passing laws, making appropriations, funding programs and incentives under the law, and specifying punishments for non-compliance with the law. The Executive Branch executes the laws Congress passes, including by means of administrative agencies which act by general rule making and by enforcement in particular cases for which there are administrative and judicial protections for those against whom enforcement is sought.

The Trump businesses could be used by President Trump as an adjunct of this autocratic mode of governance. President Trump could use his extensive web of business contacts to elicit support for his legislation, including that they contact their Congressional representatives to urge the representatives to support Trump legislation. Trump could couple his requests with indications of favorable treatment of business interests of his contacts who help out, and Trump may even signal that failure to support Trump legislation could be met with some unfavorable business treatment by the Trump administration.

"Pay to play" risks would increase greatly.

For further elaboration of the foregoing matters, please read Trump Inc.

Don't you agree that the Committee, Congress and the country need to get a handle on what is going to happen with the country's governance and politics? Don't you think this should be done by the Committee taking up its responsibilities regarding President Trump and his businesses.

Update 2/15
The below op/ed piece is deserving of consideration related to above.

The Wall Street Journal

The ‘Blind Trust’ Snake Oil

American voters have bigger things to worry about than Trump’s business interests.


Let’s just say the precedents aren’t good.
Lyndon Johnson was the first president to place his family assets in a blind trust. That didn’t stop him from installing a special phone line, bypassing White House operators, so he could apply presidential suasion for the benefit of TV and radio stations nominally owned by Lady Bird.
Leonard Goldenson, who led ABC at the time, later complained about the president calling up and strong-arming him over the network’s decision to take a college football game away from Johnson’s Austin TV station.
And does anybody think Mike Bloomberg did not involve himself in the running of his financial news empire while mayor of New York City? Halfway through his term, even Mr. Bloomberg dropped the pretense, conceding that, while he “stayed out of the day-to-day stuff,” he regularly spoke to his executives about financial matters, major product changes and lawsuit negotiations.
Yet nobody should doubt that politicians like Mr. Bloomberg and Johnson were concerned, first and last, with political success. When American presidents abuse their offices, it’s for political reasons. Biographer Robert Caro tells of Johnson threatening to block the merger of two Texas banks unless the Houston Chronicle, on whose board one of the bank presidents sat, dropped its hypercritical tone and endorsed Johnson for president in 1964. (The paper did.)
To expect Donald Trump to be unaware or indifferent as to how his businesses are faring in the hands of his kids is unrealistic. Sadly, however, the discussion has been too much influenced by Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, former Bush and Obama White House ethics lawyers, respectively, who have been exploiting the situation to drag out their 15 minutes of fame unconscionably.
They appear everywhere, in op-eds and on TV, encouraging a false idea that a president without business interests is therefore somehow a president devoted to the public interest. Their ideal of a president is almost like Silicon Valley’s dystopian vision of AI, namely a computer that knows what’s good for us and intends to do it without our input.
Messrs. Painter and Eisen fret continually about an “appearance of conflict,” when the thing to worry about is the nonappearance of conflict, the hidden reasons a president favors one course over another that are often lost on everybody but the special interests at his elbow.
Will foreign leaders feel obliged to check into the Trump hotel when visiting D.C? We can take this as a given. Who, when seeing the president, wouldn’t want to be able to say how nice the stay was at his hotel? So what?
Will his overseas buildings become terrorist targets? If so, all the more reason for local partners to take his name down, even if they have to keep paying for its use. It’s the host countries, not the U.S., that have the obligation of protecting local landmarks from terrorist attack.
Will the Trump children parade around in semi-regal fashion, signing deals that wouldn’t otherwise come their way if their father wasn’t president? Again, so what? Two words: Billy Beer.
Of all the things to fret about with President Trump, these are the least important. But ankle-biting America—a longstanding facet of our national character—is getting a chance to air the sanctimony and resentment on which it thrives.
Messrs. Painter and Eisen are the embodiment of the aphid side of the law—the side that glories in the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s, irreparably confusing form and substance. Like a two-man Supreme Court, they’ve ruled, based on nothing, that the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause means a president can’t own a stake in a business whose operations might be patronized by a foreign government official. Well, then, sell your McDonald’s shares, ambitious U.S. politicians, lest an Indonesian junior minister stop by the drive-thru window.
Unfortunately the aphid side of life is the side that Washington specializes in. It supplies full-time occupations for rule makers and rule enforcers plus their cheering section, the lobbyists and lawyers who make a living by hindering other Americans from going about their business.
Don’t doubt, though, that these forces are a threat to any president who offers his opponents so many opportunities to tie him and his businesses up in lawsuits.
The more likely outcome is that Mr. Trump’s businesses will wither on the vine while he attends to his presidential duties, not exclusively limited to issuing ruckus-causing tweets. We may not have our new president to kick around after a couple of years, as he hurriedly hands over power so he can go back and save his flagging business empire.
By the way, for urban dwellers, aphids, or “plant lice,” according to Wikipedia, are “small sap-sucking insects” that are “among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Censure

TO: Representative Gary Palmer, Alabama 6th Congressional district

On January 9th, Rep Jason Chaffetz, the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (on which you sit), said the Committee will continue to investigate Hillary Clinton's private email server. (See CNN story here.)

As to President Trump's potential business conflicts, Rep. Chaffetz reportedly noted that the law‎ exempts the president of the United States, and called the push from Democrats to launch a committee investigation on Trump's business ties "premature at best." (See CNN story here.)

I tweeted you yesterday asking whether you thought President Trump is "faithfully" executing the office of President when he tweets in favor of Ivanka and against Nordstrom in connection with the business relationship of Ivanka and Nordstrom. See Ivanka and Nordstrom.

The potential problems that President Trump's businesses pose for his being able to fulfill his constitutional oath to "faithfully" execute the office of the President have been obvious since November.  Have you given any consideration to them as I requested in Priority questions for AL legislative delegation?

I don't know whether Rep. Chaffetz still thinks that investigation into the Trump businesses is "premature at best," but I think urgency is getting to be needed.

Urgency is needed because so much about President Trump is novel, questionable developments are rapidly occurring and revealing new elements of concern, and there is an expanding amount of information needed to be obtained, understood and evaluated by the Committee. If the Committee ultimately decides that corrective action needs to be taken against President Trump, that should be decided sooner rather than later.

It is up to you and other members of the Oversight Committee to consider and judge the novel situation presented by President Trump.

Quite simply the country has never had an outsider businessman becoming President, and bringing along a very large business organization, which operates domestically and in many foreign countries.

Some of the possible problems associated with the the novel situation of President Trump's businesses have been identified.

The Democrats on the Oversight Commitee sent a seven page letter to Chairman Chaffetz on November 28, 2016, which gave a starting list of problems.

On January 11th, President-Elect Trump had a press conference in which he set out what he was going to do to separate himself from his businesses. This plan has received a large amount of criticism as not doing enough, and the matter is far from resolved. After he took office on January 20th, lawsuits were started against President Trump under the emoluments clause.

While some of the possible problems have been discerned, others are being learned only as time goes by.

Further, President Trump's nature and style have the potential of tremendously exacerbating problems. His tweeting regarding Ivanka and Nordstrom has resulted in his taking up cudgels for the personal interests of Ivanka and his family and stoking more divisive battle between his supporters and opponents who are leaping into the fray.

This is a mess, it is detrimental to the country, and it is almost certain to get worse.

To me, it seems that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has a responsibility to not duck the mess, and to take up the problems that President Trump and his businesses are creating for the country.

You and the other Republicans on the Oversight Committee are going to have to decide: Are you going to shirk your responsibility by not addressing the problems, or are you going to discharge your responsibility and investigate, evaluate and judge the novel situation of President Trump and his businesses.

Please keep in mind these important questions:

1. What is the relationship between the constitutional oath of office to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and the exemption for the President that is provided in the "conflicts of interest" statute? What does the word "faithfully" mean in the constitutional oath of office? Can President Trump do anything he wants in service of the interests of his businesses and his family, or does the word "faithfully" limit what President Trump can do?

2. If the word "faithfully" limits what President Trump can do, do you think President Trump understands that?

3. What is the role of Congress in overseeing whether the President is "faithfully" executing his office? Can Congress impeach the President if it determines that the President has failed to faithfully execute his office? What if the President has one view of what "faithfully" means, and Congress has a differing view?

If the Oversight and Government Reform Committee decides to investigate, evaluate and judge the situation of President Trump and his businesses, the Committee should consider whether censure of the President by the House of Representatives would be an appropriate action to take if the Committee thinks corrective action by Congress is called for.

Update 2/10/17. See Censure (supplement).

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ivanka and Nordstrom

To Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell:

Can you please comment on whether President Trump is faithfully executing the office of the President when he tweets in favor of Ivanka and against Nordstrom in connection with the business relationship of Ivanka and Nordstrom? For background to this request, please see Priority questions for AL legislative delegation and Chaffetz letter.

  
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by . She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!






Saturday, February 4, 2017

Dodd-Frank

In his inaugural address, President Trump pledged: "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer." And "You will never be ignored again."

With President Trump's announced goal of rolling back Dodd-Frank, who is he looking out for? Is President Trump looking out for the forgotten men and women of our country, or is he looking out for Wall Street?

The Dodd-Frank Act helps to prevent the big banks from cheating Americans and crashing our economy. We must fight to stop the Republicans from gutting Wall Street reform.

It's time to demand Wall Street reform and fight for a strong middle class.
MY.ELIZABETHWARREN.COM

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Palmer letter

I have read Rep. Palmer's letter Kicking Off the 115th Congress, dated January 31, 2017.

I think the voters in the Alabama 6th Congressional district could use another letter from Rep Palmer.

I think Rep. Palmer should make inquiry about Steve Bannon.

In the below USA Today article, Steve Bannon seems to be a scary guy.

Rep. Palmer should say which words of Steve Bannon that Rep. Palmer agrees with and which words he disagrees with.

Rep. Palmer should say whether voters in the Alabama 6th Congressional district should find ways to voice concerns about Steve Bannon, or whether Rep. Palmer thinks voters in the 6th Congressional district should not have worries about Steve Bannon.

Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, and Sewell should all do similarly for their Alabama constituents.




USA Today
Steve Bannon’s own words show sharp break on security issues
Published 5:26 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2017
Stephen Bannon has warned that Islam is “the most radical” religion in the world and that the United States is engaged in a struggle for civilization against Islamists. USA TODAY
Steve Bannon, who has ascended in just months from relative obscurity to become one of President Trump’s most influential advisors, has said that Islam is “the most radical” religion in the world and the U.S. is engaged in a civilizational struggle potentially leading to “a major shooting war in the Middle East again.”
Trump installed Bannon this week as a member of his National Security Council, taking the unusual step of installing a political adviser on the powerful White House body responsible for shaping security and foreign policy.
Far more significant may be the views he brings to that table, which represent a sharp break from how previous administrations approached security issues, particularly around Islamic terrorism.
In dozens of hours of audio recordings reviewed by USA TODAY of his Breitbart News Daily radio show in 2015 and 2016, Bannon told his listeners that the United States and the Western world are engaged in a “global existential war,” and he entertained claims that a “fifth column” of Islamist sympathizers had infiltrated the U.S. government and news media. Those recordings, preserved online, offer an often unfiltered window into the thinking of Trump’s interview-averse senior adviser.
The views mark a stark shift from foreign policy doctrine under the previous two administrations.
In the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush was cautious in his public statements and gave a speech in which he said, “Islam is peace.” In a radio show last May, Bannon said those were “the dumbest” comments made by Bush during his presidency. On his radio show, Bannon repeatedly made sarcastic references to Islam as a “religion of peace.”
University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said it’s “unprecedented to have someone who doesn’t just harbor those views but seems to have no compunction basing decisions on those views” as a member of the National Security Council.
“It seems like we’re headed for more of the jaw-dropping steps like the immigration order,” he said.
Bannon left a position as the executive chairman of the right-wing news organization Breitbart in August 2016 to become chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign, and after the election, he was named the president’s chief strategist and senior counsel — a position equal in rank to the chief of staff.
His role in shaping Trump’s domestic and foreign policy has grown increasingly apparent in the early days of the administration. Bannon played a role in shaping a flurry of executive orders, including one that temporarily blocks immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations.
“He's got a tremendous understanding of the world and the geopolitical landscape that we have now,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, defending Bannon's place on the security post.

Diverging from longtime foreign policy
While hosting his radio program, Bannon made statements that diverged from decades of U.S. foreign policy.
“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we?” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”
The United States and China have a tenuous relationship in part because China is entangled in a dispute with Japan and other Asian nations in the region over an important trade channel in the South China Sea and the country’s attempts to assert its dominion by building islands topped with military installations.
During an interview in February 2016, Bannon expressed alarm about China and Islam as he talked about a Breitbart story proclaiming a mosque at the North Pole, although it was actually in a northern Canadian village hundreds of miles away.
“You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian West is on the retreat,” he said. “Talk to us about this mosque on the North Pole.”
In January 2016, Bannon discussed various threats facing Europe in the late 1930s and evaluated Islam alongside fascism and Nazism.
“This is when Europe’s looking down the barrel of fascism — the rise of Mussolini in Italy, Stalin and the Russians and the communist Bolsheviks in the Soviet Union. And obviously Hitler and the Nazis,” he said. “I mean you’re looking at fascism, you’re looking at communism. And to say that — what so blows me away is the timing of it. You could look in 1938 and say, ‘Look, it’s pretty dark here in Europe right now, but there’s something actually much darker. And that is Islam.’ ”
Emma Ashford, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, said public statements by other members of Trump’s National Security Council indicate their views are not in alignment with Bannon’s, setting the stage for debate on the council.
“I think it’s very good that there is internal dissent on these issues — particularly when you look at how unorthodox, and frankly repulsive, some of these ideas that Bannon expresses are,” she said. “I think the fact that there’s opposition can only be a good thing.”
The White House did not answer questions from USA TODAY about Bannon's radio statements.
A native of Richmond, Va., Bannon served as an officer in the U.S. Navy after attending Virginia Tech.
Bannon’s military personnel file, obtained by USA TODAY, shows he was regularly promoted during his seven years of service. Senior officers wrote that Bannon had earned their “complete trust” and praised him for his “outstanding performance.” Bannon earned a master's degree in government from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard and worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.
Despite that background, the radio shows featured frequent tirades against the “globalist elites” who he said encouraged policies that benefited the wealthy and powerful to the detriment of the working class.
“I’m the patron saint of commoners,” he said in one segment.

Immigration concerns
Bannon often spoke on his radio show about his concerns over immigration from Muslim-majority countries to Europe and the USA. Many of his concerns are rooted in his perception of cultural differences and sharia, or Islamic religious law.
“These are not Jeffersonian democrats,” he said of immigrants to Europe from Muslim majority countries in April of last year. “These are not people with thousands of years of democracy in their DNA coming up here.”
“I think that most people in the Middle East, at least 50%, believe in being sharia-compliant,” Bannon said in December 2015. “If you're sharia-compliant or want to impose sharia law, the United States is the wrong place for you."
Susan Hennessey, a former lawyer for the National Security Agency, said Bannon appears to misunderstand the basic features of sharia and seems to use the term “sharia-compliant” as shorthand for observant Muslim.
“Listening to his words carefully, he is saying observant Muslims don’t belong in the U.S. and isn’t modifying that statement to be about immigrants,” she said. “Plenty of natural-born American citizens are observant Muslims. Those people are every bit as American as Steve Bannon is, and they have real reason to fear his role in the White House.”
On his radio shows, Bannon often provided figures about immigration from Muslim-majority nations that are either exaggerations of disputed numbers or lack basis in fact.
“And some of the statistics are, what, like up to 5-10% believe in radical — in radical jihad. I’m mean you’re talking literally — they said thousands, hundreds (of) thousands are coming in. Say the number is 3 million,” he said in April 2016. “You start to get some pretty big numbers. Particularly if half of these believe in sharia law or over 60%. Right? I mean the numbers are staggering.”
During a show in December 2015, Bannon told a guest he heard an additional 1 million Muslim immigrants would enter the USA in each of the next two years.
“If we didn’t hit the pause button today, is it already locked up that we’re going to be importing at least a couple of million Muslims whatever happens?” The guest agreed, “Absolutely.”
In truth, the Pew Research Center estimates the U.S. Muslim population is 3.3 millionand forecasts that it will double — over the next 36 years, not the next few years. About 100,000 Muslims arrived in the USA each of the past few years, Pew said.
‘We’re at war’
On Breitbart News Daily, Bannon’s words often centered on the idea of a global clash of civilizations.
“To be brutally frank, I mean Christianity is dying in Europe, and Islam is on the rise,” he said in an interview in January 2016 with a Breitbart reporter.
In November 2015, Bannon told his listeners it was time to have an “adult conversation” about national security.
“Some of these situations may get a little unpleasant,” Bannon said. “But you know what, we’re in a war. We’re clearly going into, I think, a major shooting war in the Middle East again.”
Bannon often criticized elected officials and the media for failing to condemn Islam after terrorist attacks. After the Pulse nightclub attack in June 2016, he lashed out at the media and politicians for not casting blame on the religion and suggested they may be subservient to sharia, or Islamic religious law.
“The way the media is presenting this, it’s almost like they’re conforming to blasphemy law,” he said. “They will not criticize Islam, the president of the United States will not criticize Islam. Mrs. Clinton will not criticize Islam. Do you get a sense that the media in the West — and I mean in London and in the United States — is almost working under the precepts of sharia law right now?”
Concern about brewing conflict, he said, was a fundamental concept behind Bannon's media enterprise. “Our big belief, one of our central organizing principles at the site, is that we’re at war,” he said.
"It's war. It's war. Every day, we put up: America's at war, America's at war. We're at war,” he said in December 2015. “Note to self, beloved commander in chief: We're at war."
Contributing: John Kelly