Letter to Susan Collins

Senator Susan Collins
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Sunday, July 8, 2018

You have stated that you will not ask any nominee by Donald Trump their opinion on Roe v Wade, and that you will trust their commitment to upholding precedent in order to uphold it. You took this same stance with Neil Gorsuch. Just because he literally wrote a book on precedent does not mean that he will uphold them. I assume that you have paid attention to the batch of SCOTUS decisions that came out last week. How many of them did Neil Gorsuch vote with the majority to overturn decades of precedent? Last time I counted, the answer is “all of them”.

Mr. Gorsuch was pre-vetted and supplied to Mr. Trump by The Federalist Society, an ultra-conservative organization dedicated to raising ultra-conservative lawyers with the goal of getting them into court seats at the State and Federal levels in order to overturn decades of social progress. Such as Roe v Wade.

Every name on Mr. Trump’s list of 25 has been pre-vetted by this group. All of them would vote for overturning Roe v Wade.

And that is not the only “settled law” that Mr. Gorsuch, and whomever Mr. Trump nominates, would overturn. Considering their judicial origin, also on the potential chopping block are marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, the American With Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act, and maybe even Brown v Board Of Education.

In other words, every single piece of Civil Rights legislation and judgement for the past 60+ years is in YOUR hands.

I therefor urge you to vote “no” on whomever Mr. Trump nominates. I would even urge you to withhold voting altogether.

In 2016, when Justice Scalia died, your leader, Mitch McConnell stated that he would refuse to entertain even any discussion of a replacement nomination “because it’s an election year” and The People should have a say in the next election. 2018 is an election year. If what he said two years ago is true, it’s also true today.  He then went on to break the precedent and change the rules. If this is supposed to be a non-partisan position, then changing the rules to allow a confirmation on a mere simple majority is a betrayal of that, and the prior rule of requiring a supermajority of 60 “yea” votes must be restored.

You allowed yourself to be lied to and betrayed last year with the vote on the tax bill that has decimated the Affordable Care Act. Learn from your mistake. I assume you have principles, though you split hairs so fine to justify your votes it’s hard to tell at times. Assuming you still have any, it is time and past time to make principled stand and stick to it. All of Maine is watching. All of America is watching. All of the word is watching.

Jeffrey Kaplan
Biddeford, ME

Patriotism in 2018

On this Fourth of July, in the year 2018, celebrating the 242nd Anniversary of the American Declaration Of Independence from an oppressive government that disregarded the wants and needs of its American citizens, it is well worth it to contemplate Patriotism.

Patriotism, as defined by Merriam-Webster: “love for or devotion to one’s country”

Note that it does not say love or devotion to the current government, or to any elected official. In fact, it can be, and often has been, argued that Patriotism demands holding the government to task for what they do and what they fail to do.

To those that claim that those who criticize Donald Trump and his administration are lacking in patriotism because he’s the president, I have one basic thing to say:

BULLSHIT!

If they really thought that, then by their own definitions, these people have shown a complete lack of patriotism when Barak Obama was President.

Because Patriotism is loyalty to the country, not to any specific person, if the person in high office is acting in a way that is detrimental to the country, it is therefore a patriotic duty to hold them responsible. It is therefore a patriotic duty to dissent. It is a patriotic duty to resist. Loyalty to the person is in fact incompatible with patriotism, because you are putting the person above the country regardless of what that person is doing to the country.

The Declaration of Independence, the signing of which is celebrated 242 years ago today, calls out for dissent and opposition to Trump’s administration where it says as the second paragraph

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What has Trump done that warrants a Patriotic dissent and resistance? Here’s a partial list:

  • He insults our allies and defers to our enemies
  • He installs department heads that are unqualified on the face of it and who’s missions are to dismantle their departments
  • He is personally profiting from being President beyond a paycheck by not distancing himself from his businesses
  • He is personally profiting from being President beyond a paycheck by manipulating the stock market
  • He ignores the evidence-based consensus of his own Intelligence services regarding enemy cyberwarfare against the United States and takes the unproven word of a sworn enemy instead
  • He claims victory in talks with a hostile foreign leader when he gave what they wanted and got nothing in return, ignoring evidence of his failure
  • Demands certain concessions to agree to a basic principle, then moves the goal posts
  • Enacts a policy of “zero tolerance”, lies about who’s policy it is, claims it’s up to another branch of the government to fix it, then only under pressure from his wife and daughter enacts an Order that only partially rescinds it and attempts to make things worse
  • Falsely claims “national security” to impose import tariffs on our allies triggering global trade wars with allies and other trade partners
  • Directly and implicitly Incites violence against the Media
  • Directly and implicitly incites violence against people of color, other religions and refugees

I could go on and on, but as I said, this is only a partial list.

Trump shreds the Constitution

The United States Constitution, including all 27 Amendments, effects all persons within the borders of the United States including territories and possessions regardless of their legal status or how they got here. This includes all rights, privileges, and obligations.

Donald Trump is shredding the United States Constitution. He is now advocating depriving “undocumented immigrants” their due-process rights as guaranteed by the US Constitution.

Then there is this one, from May: The Trump Organization, owned and still operated by Donald Trump and his children who are also employees of Donald Trump as “Advisers”, has stated that they are not going to bother to separate out moneys taken in from foreign business interests, in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution which prohibits government employees from the acceptance of gifts, titles and money from foreign entities lest they cause or appear to cause a preference to that foreign entity over that of the United States’ interests. Why? Because it’s “not practical”. Whether hired, appointed or elected, Donald, Don Jr, Eric, Ivanka and Melania Trump are all employees of the US Government. And collectively, several of them, specifically including Donald, own, manage or hold stake in the Trump Organization.

 

1 crying Honduran girl vs 2000

This one instance that the current regime in Washington is now harping on as an overblown response by the Democratic and otherwise Liberal side does not disprove the fact that over TWO THOUSAND children were “separated” (kidnapped, stolen) from their parents attempting to seek entry into the united states, many of whom who were trying to enter legally by seeking asylum through an official border crossing.

And the recent Executive Order that Trump had previously said he could not issue to reverse his own policies, has no provision to reunite those children with their families, seeks to makes matters worse by having the Pentagon set up what amounts to concentration camps at military bases, and will in fact self-reverse on the policy in about three weeks and resume separating (kidnapping, stealing) the children again when they fail to overturn the Flores Agreement that set the 20 day limit on child detentions in the first place. The Flores Agreement is a judgement dating back to the Reagan era.

The crying Honduran girl on the cover of Time was not separated from her mother

Did he ever invite people who were permanently separated from their children due to…

Did he ever invite people who were permanently separated from their children due to school shootings?

Did he ever invite people who were permanently separated from their children due to police brutality?

Did he ever invite people who were permanently separated from their children due to the opiod crisis?

Did he ever invite people who were permanently separated from their children due to domestic violence?

Did he ever invite people who were permanently separated from their children due to inability to afford medication?

 

Trump answers critics of border policy with families of crime victims

Turmp’s order to end splitting families is all show

 

 

As you have probably heard by now, to much fanfare, President Trump has signed an Executive Order reversing his own policy of separating children from their families when crossing the border from Mexico. This is insufficient. The EO was actually drafted by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

What was not as widely announced are the parts of the order that are as bad, if not worse:

Families arrested from now on will be kept together in so-called “Detention Centers”. At first, similar to the ones currently housing over 2000 children. The EO directs the Department of Homeland Security to contract with the Pentagon to start holding these families on military bases. And there are no plans to re-unite families already separarted.

Let me repeat that last bit:

There are no plans to re-unite families already separated.

Nation wide protests and demonstrations against the family separation policy are still happening. If you were planning on attending one, keep that plan. If you have a Senator or Congressperson who has not committed to supporting an existing bill or to write one to make a law to fix this, call or write them. Here in Maine, that would be Republican Senator Susan Collins and Republican Congressman (CD2) Bruce Poliquin – Independant Senator Angus King has already signed on to Senator Finestein’s bill, and Deomcratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has already co-sponsored the House version.

You can find demonstration events co-sponsored by MoveOn.org here: https://act.moveon.org/event/families-belong-together/search/

You can find out how to contact your US Senator here: https://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_correspond_senators.htm

You can find ou how to contact your US Congressperson here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

Do not assume this is over, it is not. Do not become complacent. We only got this much becuase of the pressure being applied to the Senate and Congress. We MUST keep it up.

Keep Families Together

Senator Collins,

You said the other day on national TV that you do not support the Administration’s policy of breaking families apart at the border. But then you did… nothing. You have no follow-through where it counts.

You claim that The Keep Families Together Act written by Senator Feinstein is “too broad” and merely asked Donald Trump for more information. You are asking a known liar to lie to you, again.

You repeatedly claim to be a moderate, and willing to work across the aisle, but that only appears to happen on inconsequential items. You are a senior Senator, you have clout. Use it. Work with Senator Feinstein to amend her bill or find something you want that she can support in exchange for your support here. Or work with another Democratic Senator, or Senator King, to write a different bill that better suits your sensibilities.

In other words, do your job.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey Kaplan
Biddeford Maine