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    NATIONAL SECURITY: Avoiding a Constitutional Crisis

    NATIONAL SECURITY: Avoiding a Constitutional Crisis Leonard Lance, what will you do to prevent President Trump from firing Robert Mueller? This once unthinkable scenario becomes more likely with every passing day.  The President does not tolerate dissent, firing those with whom he disagrees, and surrounding himself with those whose loyalty is to him, not to the Office. He has always viewed the Department of Justice as a tool to wield his authority against his opponents, as seen by the events surrounding the dismissals of James Comey and Andrew McCabe. The same is true of his intent to stifle Robert Mueller, a Republican Special Prosecutor hired by a Republican Assistant Attorney General, when a Republican Attorney General recused himself correctly from an investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election. Trump’s malignant neglect of this issue recently led retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey to describe the President as a “serious threat to U.S. national security” for his failure to protect the nation from “active Russian attacks” that are ongoing; even as I write this, Russia’a hacking has infiltrated our energy and aviation sectors.  Mueller’s team has extracted 5 guilty pleas, and indicted 13 Russians to date. At long last, the Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on 19 Russians - including all those indicted by Mueller. But now Mueller stands accused of staffing his team with diehard Democrats in a vindictive assault on a virtuous President, wrongly accused of collusion. The President and his lawyer call for an end to the investigation. The investigation is seen as being conducted fairly by 61% of the electorate.  On the Republican side, Trey Gowdy, Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham are amongst the few prepared to stand and tell the President of the peril he and the country will face if he should move to dismiss the Special Prosecutor. Even milquetoast Paul Ryan said that “Mr. Mueller and his team should be able to do their job.” Enacting the languishing legislation to protect Mr. Mueller from being fired without cause would send a clear, public message to the President. Congressman Lance, take a stance!  Announce your support for this legislation today.  Hand-wringing by you if Mueller is dismissed will not be forgotten in November by the voters of NJ7.     
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    Dear Mr. Congressman: A Student's Message to Leonard Lance

      Dear Mr. Congressman, My name is Sid, and I’m a Senior at Somerset VoTech. I’m typing out this letter to you on my phone, in the middle of a packed crowd at the Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ. This is the first rally I’ve ever been to in my life, because I’m a cynic, Mr. Congressman. I’ve never held the hope that a protest could shake this country onto the right path, or that a clever sign could be the mirror that sparks real reflection on Capitol Hill. Mr. Congressman, I write to you today that I will be the last of the cynics. There is no more room in our democracy for the tired deflections of the past. I recognize that there are nuances to the issue of gun violence in America, but there is one divide that will forever and always be black-and-white: Mr. Congressman, we can either commit to act, or sit back and enable these horrific tragedies to continue. My name is Sid, and I have never lived in an era without school shootings. I was born more than a year after Columbine, but I know that my children and my friends’ children will be born in an era when school shootings are specters of a distant and barbaric past, as repulsive to the American Way of Life as the institution of segregation is today. Mr. Congressman, my name is Sid, and I’m an American. My blood is red, my courthouse is white, and my passport is blue. My parents came to this country as “permanent aliens” so that my inalienable rights would be permanent. Among them, both the rights to free speech and the right to bear arms. When the framers of our country’s founding documents enshrined those rights in our constitution, they were able to shout from the steps of their courthouses. They were not able to walk into a Walmart and purchase a weapon of war that could fire dozens of lethal rounds per minute. Mr. Congressman, the very people who wrote those documents also enshrined the recognition that all Americans have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—And when the modern interpretation of the second amendment conflicts with my right to life and liberty I think I know which one is more important, Mr. Congressman. My name is Sid, and I am a student in a country whose education system is ranked 38th in Math, ranked 24th in Science, and ranked 1st in school-related gun violence. Mr. Congressman, your colleagues have been desperate, desperate to discredit the young people speaking up about gun violence in our country. They tell us we don’t know what an assault rifle is, or a bump stock, or a high-capacity magazine. They tell us we don’t understand the issue enough to hold a valid opinion on the matter. Mr. Congressman, you cannot test us on a subject after burning all the textbooks. No one, no one in this country will truly understand this issue until you and your colleagues wholeheartedly, unequivocally, support scientific research into gun violence. Your colleagues are seriously considering paying teachers to wield deadly weapons. Mr. Congressman, they barely pay our teachers to teach! Mr. Congressman, I know that you’re tired of hearing about how Australia had zero mass shootings after instituting gun control, and that the U.K., Japan, Germany, and Canada have experienced similar success. The two of us know that our country isn’t Japan or any of those others. The political climate in those countries, the legislative precedent in those countries, is as different to ours as sushi is to a Big Mac. But Mr. Congressman, we must remember that this is America--not the first country to go into space, but the first to step foot on the moon. JFK said we as Americans “do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Mr. Congressman, America will not be the first country to institute gun reform within its borders, but it will be the country where the fight will be the most hard fought and the most rewarding. Mr. Congressman, I understand that the War on Drugs is a complicated issue. So is the War on Terror. But, why, in this country of freedom, are we so motivated to pursue a War on Children? Mr. Congressman, if Nicholas Cruz was a perfectly law-abiding gun owner until he stepped foot into that school, then those laws must change! Mr. Congressman, your colleagues often reference President Reagan as a paragon of American leadership. He presided over the end of the Cold War, and era when the fear of—as he put it—the “Soviet Empire of Evil” drove students under desks in atomic bomb drills. When today’s children hide in closets and behind desks from our fellow countrymen armed with assault rifles, ask yourself, what is the Empire of Evil that we fear this time? Your colleagues and base of supporters often proclaim that if the we want common-sense gun reform, we will have to tear the guns from their cold, dead hands. Mr Congressman, if you want this ballot, you’re gonna need to tear it from MY cold, dead hands. Mr. Congressman, don’t worry if you didn’t catch all of that, because I’m gonna say it again on Election Day, November 6th, 2018, and November 3, 2020, and November 8, 2022, and November of 2024 and 2026 and 2028 and every second November that I am still alive. Mr. Congressman, take the Parkland Pledge." - Sid Shankar   Author Bio: Sid Shankar, Senior at Somerset Vo-Tech, organizer of the Parkland Pledge
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    Weak-Stance Lance is Whistling in the Dark- He Hopes You Won't Vote

      What does Conor Lamb’s victory mean for NJ7, our Congressman was asked?  “Secretary Clinton carried my district by 3,800 votes and I was honored to carry it by 38,000 votes . . . . I’m very confident the voters in my district will judge me based upon my record.” Confident? Really? In a race that is now a toss-up?  In NJ, where voters disapprove 63-32% of the job President Trump is doing? With your A- rating from the NRA, in the year of #Neveragain?  With a proud boast of at least 39 votes to repeal, defund or dismantle Obamacare, when healthcare is again top of mind? With your 34% rating from the League of Conservation Voters?  With an 83% approval rating from a Koch brothers group, when we are thinking what we could have done with the $1.5 trillion we gave to the Kochs and their ilk??  You think?  Congressman, we will be delighted to judge you on your record! Congressman Lance has one hope.  You won’t vote.  Or your neighbor won’t vote; or your aunt won’t vote, or your son won’t vote.  And Republicans love to put a thumb on the scales when it comes to voting.  They have perfected the gerrymander, such that 49% of votes for the House translated to 55% of the seats.They love to roll logs in the path of the poor, immigrants, people of color, all in the name of preventing wholly fictitious voter fraud.   But this time, Congressman, we are going to find those 38,000 votes and a few more! We will find them among our large suburban base of motivated women and millennials and minorities.  We will find them in the first time voters we are registering, who expect us to take on the NRA.  And we will find them among the decent people of NJ7 who are disgusted by the fourth-rate reality TV show that is the Trump administration that YOU support. And we WILL vote as though our lives depend upon it.  Because they DO! Remember in November!  
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