Tag Archives: Chuck Schumer

Socialist? Why, I never …

I’ve been called out by a critic of High Plains Blogger.

Some fellow who I don’t know, but who reads my blog regularly, has called me a “socialist.” He likens me to U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer as a socialist in their ilk.

Hmm. I need to respond to this guy.

I’ll start with this: He doesn’t know what a socialist is. A socialist is someone who believes in, um, socialism. And what is that, precisely?

Socialism is an economic philosophy that emphasizes collective ownership of business and industry. Let’s see. Have I ever advocated taking over business and industry by the government? Have I ever said that private ownership is bad for the country? No. I haven’t.

To that end, I am as much of a capitalist as this fellow who purports to know — beyond a shadow of a doubt — that I am a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool socialist.

I tend to avoid getting involved in these tit-for-tat responses on social media. For starters, many of High Plains Blogger’s critics tend to suffer from last word-itis. They have to get the last word on any exchange. So, I concede the last word to them. I’ll make whatever point I want to make, let ’em respond and then I move on.

As for the socialist rap, this individual hung that label on me after a blog post that didn’t discuss economic policy at all!

I believe, therefore, many of those who hang the “socialist” tag on folks such as yours truly are using the word as  cudgel to beat others up whenever they disagree with them on any policy at all.

To call someone a “socialist” is akin to saying “your mother wears combat boots.”

When in doubt, I rely on my tattered American Heritage dictionary, which describes socialism this way: “A social system in which the means of producing and distributing goods are owned collectively and political power is exercised by the whole community.”

Is that me? Umm. No. It isn’t. So there.

Capitol Hill gripped by fear of harassment

It’s come down to this.

Members of Congress — senators and House members — are being harassed and hassled themselves by bogus complaints alleging sexual harassment.

What has become of this scandal? Has it grown to something no one recognizes?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had to fend off a fake complaint, as has Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Yes, this issue is real. It has reached scandalous proportions as scores of women have levied credible, legitimate complaints against powerful men in government. Three of them have been forced to resign; others are declaring their intention to bow out after the 2018 midterm election.

Some of these accusations involve some truly hideous conduct.

But there now appears to be some evidence of bogus allegations surfacing.

Let’s be careful — shall we? — as we continue to grapple with this matter.

We have complaints being lodged against none other than the president of the United States. Many of those complaints seem quite credible, in my humble view. The president has called them liars and said their accusations are part of a “fake news” effort to undermine him.

Then we have comments from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying that all complaints “need to be heard.” I agree with her.

Be careful of fear

Then again, let us be take care that we don’t push the sexual harassment panic button at every single complaint. Human beings are quite capable of tricking the rest of us.

As Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “You want to have a welcome environment to report abuse — you don’t want to deter victims. But you’ve got to have enough due process and scrutiny to make sure it’s accurate.”

“I think this environment is pretty crazy right now,” Graham added, and “what happened to Sen. Schumer is a concern to a lot of us.”

Trump-Schumer bromance hits the skids

I guess Donald John Trump and Charles Schumer aren’t such good New York City pals after all.

The president of the United States and the U.S. Senate’s Democratic leader are now exchanging barbs over Trump’s comments in the wake of the NYC tragedy that killed eight people in a terrorist attack.

I’ll take Sen. Schumer’s side in this dispute. Are you surprised? I didn’t think so.

Trump, Schumer trade barbs

Trump went after Schumer immediately after the Uzbek immigrant was taken into custody after running into a crowd. He blamed Schumer for endorsing an immigration bill that allowed the Uzbek to enter the country on a special visa.

Schumer responded that “I guess it’s not too early to politicize a tragedy,” blasting the president for taking the low road while the nation’s largest city deals with the grief brought by the madman.

Schumer played a role in the enactment of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. He was a junior member of Congress at the time. The program, incidentally, was signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush, a Republican … just like Donald Trump.

But still …

If only the president could simply limit his public comments in the wake of such tragedy to concern for the victims and to speak to the resolve of a nation that won’t be terrorized.

DACA ‘deal’ produces more … chaos

Chaos, anyone? Anyone?

“Chuck and Nancy” had dinner Wednesday night with the president of the United States of America and then announced they had reached an agreement with Donald J. Trump on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals rule.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the deal involves legislation to restore DACA that “excludes the wall” that Trump wants to build across our nation’s southern border.

Cheers went up. The illegal immigrants who were brought here as children wouldn’t be rounded up and deported back to countries they don’t know, given that they grew up as de facto Americans.

Trump had rescinded the DACA executive order and gave Congress six months to craft a legislative solution to this problem. The Chuck-and-Nancy announcement seemed to give the DACA residents some hope, some reason to believe they could proceed toward full U.S. citizenship or permanent immigrant status.

Not so fast, said the president.

He insists he didn’t agree to forgo money for the wall — which he has said Mexico would pay for, over the strenuous objections of that country’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto.

Good grief, dude! Two leading Democratic politicians — both of whom have been at this governing thing for a long time — make an announcement, that is contradicted immediately by the president of the United States.

Perhaps Chuck and Nancy should bear some responsibility for this latest round of chaos as it involves the president.

But all told, the rollout of this so-called deal bears the marks of the man who is unable to formulate a smooth strategy — for anything. 

Do they have a deal or don’t they?

Just think: We’re only eight months into a four-year term for the president. This confusion and chaos does seem to make the time drag, doesn’t it?

DACA pact? Deal … or no deal?

Donald J. Trump had a couple of dinner guests at the White House tonight.

They were Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Senate and House Democratic leaders, respectively. “Chuck and Nancy” emerged from the dinner meeting and announced a “deal” they struck with the president that would produce a permanent agreement to keep “Dreamers” in the United States.

I refer to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals act that Trump supposedly rescinded the other day. He gave Congress six months to work out a legislative fix to DACA, which seeks to protect those who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

It seems that the DACA matter has been put on a fast track. Oh, and get this: They report that Trump has agreed to forgo building the wall.

Not so fast, says White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who tweeted out something about minutes after Chuck and Nancy announced the deal that the president didn’t agree to scrap the wall idea.

Who do you believe? Two seasoned politicians who know their way around the Capitol Hill pea patch or a president who is not wired to tell the truth?

Trump, by the way, hasn’t yet weighed in with his own tweet about what he agreed on with Chuck and Nancy.

I believe the two leading congressional Democrats have just scored another win over the “best deal maker” the world has ever seen.

OK, Mitch … time to get to work — with Democrats!

Mitch McConnell isn’t going to take any advice from me, given that he likely won’t even know I’m offering it.

I’ll go to bat anyway. Here’s my advice to the U.S. Senate majority leader, who has just witnessed the collapse of the Republican-authored overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

If I were Mitch, I’d get on the phone in the next day or two. Pick up the phone, Mitch, and place a call to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

McConnell would do well to say something like this:

“Hello, Chuck? This is Mitch. OK, pal. You win. You won this fight. You held your Democratic caucus together to fend off our effort to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something we crafted all on our own. I get that we didn’t do what we should have done at the beginning, which is seek Democrats’ advice and counsel on how to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“But look, Chuck. I know how this system is supposed to work. I’ve been around the Senate a long time, as you have and I understand fully that cooperation and compromise aren’t four-letter words. Except that I’ve got that damn TEA Party wing of my caucus that keeps giving me the dickens whenever I talk to you folks.

“Hell, man, Lyndon Johnson worked the Senate like a craftsman; he played senators like fiddles. He got things done when he ran the Senate.

“So, here’s my idea. Let’s all sit down together. I want to toss out the ACA. You support it in principle. But surely you have problems with it. Those damn premiums are too high. Insurers are bailing out in some states. Patients can’t always get the docs they want to treat them.

“Why don’t we put our heads together to fix the Affordable Care Act. We can call it whatever we wish. I tried to get it tossed. It’s still the law of the land. It’s going to remain the law of the land possibly until hell freezes over. But I’m willing to work with you to fix what you and I both know — along with members of our respective caucuses — that the ACA isn’t perfect. Far from it. It needs fixing.

“Are you in?”

Chuck Schumer, having heard all of this, likely would answer:

“Welcome aboard, Mitch.”

Who’s telling the truth, GOP or Democratic Senate leader?

I am certain today that I heard two diametrically opposed statements come from the mouths of the U.S. Senate’s top partisan leaders.

The Senate was going to vote this week on a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; then Senate Republicans said “no.” There won’t be a vote just yet. They balked because they don’t have the votes to approve it. They might not get the votes, either.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, said categorically that Democrats “aren’t interested” in working with Republicans to craft a new health care insurance bill.

There. We have that statement.

Less than an hour later, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat, told reporters that Democrats “want to work” with Republicans.

OK. Who’s telling the truth? McConnell said Democrats aren’t interested. Schumer said the exact opposite.

I guess it depends on the partisan bias of those who heard the statements. McConnell said it in front of fellow Republicans; Schumer made his declaration in front of fellow Democrats.

I tend to believe Schumer. I would be my hope that Democrats would be willing to huddle with their GOP “friends” in the hope of finding some common ground with regard to what McConnell called a “complicated” piece of legislation.

The Senate will take up this matter after the Fourth of July recess.

As Lyndon Johnson would say, “Let us reason together.”

Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to play hardball

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer laid it on the line.

There shouldn’t be a Senate vote on the next FBI director until we get a special prosecutor appointed to continue the investigation into whether Donald John Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians who sought to swing the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

Sounds pretty straightforward, yes? Of course it does. I get it. I’ll bet the president gets it, too.

The president fired the former FBI director, James Comey, in a stunning personnel move that has confounded even the FBI and White House staffs. The message over why Trump acted has been muddled and uncertain; it remains so to this very day!

Democrats want a special prosecutor named; so do a growing number of Senate Republicans. I reckon that’s the hand Schumer is playing now as he threatens to hold up a vote on anyone nominated to lead the FBI.

My own bias and political leaning allows me to suggest that Schumer is on to something with this demand.

FBI must bow out of this probe

As Schumer noted to CNN, the FBI is linked to the Department of Justice, which is led by an attorney general who has recused himself from any Russia dealings. At least that Jeff Sessions has said, despite his reported involvement in recommending that Trump fire Comey … which the president said he decided to do before getting the recommendation. Do you see what I mean about muddled messages?

The point, though, is that we need to get a special prosecutor appointed and that person needs to get his or her feet planted firmly before we move ahead with a new FBI director.

Look at it this way: If the Republican leadership can block a nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court for no other reason than to play politics with the federal court system, it seems to me that Senate Democrats are standing on pretty firm ground in demanding a special prosecutor before considering an FBI appointment.

Next up: Supreme Court nomination

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has thrown down the gauntlet: He is prepared to fight to keep the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court unfilled for the next year, maybe longer.

Don’t do it, Mr. Leader.

The president is going to nominate someone to fill the vacancy created nearly a year ago by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, but Senate Republicans blocked the nomination in a brazen display of petty partisanship by refusing to give Judge Garland a hearing and a vote.

They were as wrong and petty as could be.

We now have a new president and Donald J. Trump is as entitled to make his selection as Barack Obama was entitled. Thus, the Senate should proceed with confirmation hearings and then a vote.

I’ve noted many times already on this blog about my belief in presidential prerogative. Yes, the Constitution also grants the Senate the right to “advise and consent” to whomever the president nominates.

Schumer, though, should at least wait to see who the president nominates before deciding whether to block an appointment.

I agree with Schumer and Senate Democrats on this point: Trump should select a mainstream candidate. The president need not pick a fight with Democrats just for the sake of picking a fight. If he presents a nominee who is considered to come from the right-wing fringe of the judicial/political spectrum, then perhaps the Senate has grounds to protest the nomination.

Blocking a Trump nominee just for the sake of blocking someone — or to exact revenge — is no more acceptable than the idiotic effort to block an Obama nominee.

SCOTUS fight drips with irony

I cannot resist commenting on the irony that envelops the upcoming fight over filling the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Donald J. Trump is going to nominate someone to fill the seat vacated by the death of conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia. U.S. Senate Democrats are vowing to fight whoever the new president nominates.

For the record, I’ll stipulate once again that I believe strongly in presidential prerogative on these appointments. I believe the president deserves to select whoever he wants to sit on the highest court; I also believe in the Senate’s “advise and consent” role in deciding whether to approve these nominations.


But here’s where the irony covers this discussion.

Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s effort to nominate a centrist jurist, Merrick Garland, to the seat after Scalia died. They denied Garland a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They said within hours of Scalia’s death that Obama must not be allowed to fill the seat; that task, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, belonged to the new president.

Senate Republicans denied Barack Obama the opportunity to fulfill his constitutional responsibility. They engaged in a shameless — and shameful — game of politics.

Their response now? Why, they just cannot believe that Democrats might vote en masse against anyone Trump nominates. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vows that Democrats are going to dig in against anyone Trump picks for the court.

Revenge, anyone?

Senate Democrats likely cannot do what Republicans did when they denied Merrick Garland even a hearing to determine whether he should take a seat on the Supreme Court.

Indeed, the court needs a ninth vote to avoid deadlocked decisions. For that matter, the court should have welcomed the ninth justice long ago when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland.

Ahh, the irony is rich. Isn’t it?