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This could be big, maybe even bigger than Watergate

The news about the Trump administration brings Richard Nixon to mind. I am wondering if news on Russian influence could lead us to something even bigger than Watergate.

I don’t think is reasonable to expect Republicans to investigate Republicans and do much of a job. You can see all the party-line votes occuring in Congress in the past weeks.
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Republicans investigate Republicans

Republican Senator Rand Paul has said the is no need to investigate former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and it would not make sense having Republicans investigate Republicans. I partly agree.

I think his implication was the there was too much for the Republicans to do and they should not waste time on investigations into each other. But my agreement comes not from thinking Republicans are too busy or that they have important things to do but because I think this is a issue could be very important and if Republicans investigate Republicans they seem unlikely to look very hard. I think the investigation should be as nonpartisan as possible and look at some of the wider problesm of Russian influence rather than be limited to the problems of one former official.
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Save science, Canadian-style

The Trump administration seems intent on muzzling science, at least in federal agencies. How can we save science in our government? There are those of us who believe health, environmental, and other rules should be based on the best science possible.

But the Trump administration and many Republicans seem to believe otherwise. Why should rules be based on science? Why even consider reality? Why not base rules on wishful thinking, political theories, works of fiction, etc. How can we save science in this “party of ignorance” environment?

The answer may be a simple as looking north. The Canadian federal scientists faces a similar situation not too many years ago. So this could be a good model to examine.

A Canadian scientist has published a short article giving some of the specifics. When Canadian Scientists Were Muzzled by Their Government is well worth reading if you are a scientist or merely an interested party, such as those who may drink water or breathe the air.

Special prosecutor or commission on Russian influence

This is potentially really big. Is it time for a special prosecutor or commission on Russian influence in the election and the government in general?

With the resignation of Michael T. Flynn from his post as National Security Adviser, the near certainly on Russian influence on our election, and other possible problems with Russian influence, is it not time to appoint a special prosecutor or high-level indedendent commission on Russian influence on our government.

There are several ongoing and completed investigations on some aspects of this but should we look at the big picture in a nonpartisan way ?

Should severe mental illness be a factor in gun background checks?

The House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month to overturn an Obama administration rule which would have the Social Security Administration send records of some beneficiaries with severe mental illness to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The bill may go to the Senate this week where it can be passed simple majority and soon thereafter sent to President Trump.

If you think this information should be available to the FBI during background check (or not), you may want to contact your Senator and President.

The anti-choice forces are ahead with PA SB 3

The anti-choice forces in the Pennsylvania are ahead. The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 3 which was quickly passed in the state senate. Those anti-choice folks sure move quickly.

Senate Bill 3 would criminalize abortion in cases where the fetus is older than 20 weeks. It would also outlaw a safe and medically accepted technique (dilation and evacuation) which is called “dismemberment abortion” in the bill. In either case the doctor performing the abortion commits a felony of the third degree. i’m not sure what that means since I am not a lawyer but it does sound good.

There are other provisions in the bill as well providing exceptions and additional requirements. In my original post on Senate Bill 3 which was written before on the bill went to the judiciary committee I gave a link to the text of the bill.

The bill goes to the House next. Although Governor Wolfe has indicated he will veto it, the anti-choice forces in the state legislature may be able to override the veto. Therefore it is important that you let your legislators in both the Senate and House know your opinion. The House does vote next and the Senate has already voted but if there is a veto, both may be voting again. You might also want to share your opinion with Gov. Wolfe

Here are 2 links, another article on this and an easy way to look-up your Senate and House members:

So important that he might get to it next week

President Donald Trump thinks it is so important that he might get to it next week.

President Trump issued his now famous executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” on January 27, 2017. Within hours, there were mass demonstrations. Several federal judges blocked parts of the order.
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A new job for Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway has a new job – Saleswoman, Presidential branch. She is probably feeling under-worked in her main job as counselor to the president. She needed an additional job to keep her busy

The Ivanka Trump brand was having a bit of trouble. The ordinary sales staff just could not succeed and they lost the Nordstom account and a few others. A sales boost was needed.

And what better way to increase sales than by diversifying a bit by opening a Presidential branch. And who better to head it than the stylish mistress of misdirection. A new job for Kellyanne Conway.

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Shutup and sit down or #LetLizTalk

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not say to shutup and sit down but that was the result of his objection to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s speech. Twitter quickly came alive with people saying #LetLizTalk

Senator McConnell used his power to silence an opposing voice in a confirmation hearing. He invoked Senate rule 19 which in part says
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Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3, express your opinion

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3 would criminalize abortion in cases where the fetus is older than 20 or 24 weeks. There are other provisions in the bill as well providing exceptions, additional requirements, criminalization of a specific type of abortion (at any gestational age), and additional reporting requirements.

It is a bit hard to tell which way it will go now. The bill is before the Judiciary committee today and both numbers are in the bill online. I think that means that one number is current law and the other is in the bill.
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News that wasn’t

The news that wasn’t seems to be around a lot lately. Part of the news that wasn’t was my announcement of the renaming of this blog (see Reality Based Opinions), so I am sort of qualified to discuss this. But I suppose I should back up.

When I was much younger, there was a TV show called “That Was the Week That Was”. Since we now have so much fake news coming out of the Trump administration I was thinking we could have a new show called “That Was the Week That Wasn’t”.
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Love that dirty water

I am glad to hear that the Senate has voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule . I hope the House and President follow-up on this quickly. I just love that dirty water.

I have long been tired of clean drinking water. I just doesn’t have an interesting taste. I am looking forward to the added taste of coal debris or maybe even coal tar in my drinking water. It may add a bit of flavor.

Unfortunately flavor in drinking water does not seem to add many jobs.
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Hypocrisy and the super-imperial president

President Trump in less than 2 weeks in office has become the super-imperial president. He has far outpaced his predecessors in issuing executive orders.

Remember when President Obama issued orders often to solve problems when Congress failed to act. Republicans were livid and complained about his illegal imperial presidency. Now President Trump is out doing that. You would think Republicans would again be outraged. But this super-imperial presidency is much to their liking.

A few Republicans have complained about some specific executive orders but for the most part hypocrisy rules. See the recent editorial in USA Today “Hypocrisy on executive orders: Our view” for details.

Are women people ? – legally speaking

Are women people ? You would not think that needed to be asked or could be asked without giving offense. Unfortunately it is an important question right now.

Why is it important to ask this question when most people would think the answer so obvious? Most people would say “YES” and perhaps add a few words about my stupidity for even asking. But the reason I bring the question up is not that I doubt women are people but I do not think we need a Supreme Court justice who believes that the legal rights in our Constitution do not apply to women.

Judge Neil Gorsuch has been nominated by President Trump to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. His legal philosophy is said to be very similar to that of Antonin Scalia.

Over 6 years ago, I wrote about Justice Scalia’s beliefs on women and legal rights . So I was concerned about Judge Gorsuch’s beliefs.
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Protect the National Security Council (NSC)

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy has introduced the Protect the National Security Council from Political Interference Act of 2017.

Do you think the our national security should be a political thing? Should Steve Bannon as President Trump or other political types determine how we should respond to national security issues? Should the National Security Council (NSC) be nonpartisan and consist of security professionals as discussed here.

If you find this issue important please read the Congresswoman’s remarks on this.

They can be found at http://stephaniemurphy.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=18

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