Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

Democracy’s Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.  A week ago, the clock was advanced to two minutes till midnight, based on “the failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.”  Scary.  But we need another Doomsday Clock for our democracy here in the US.  We are fast approaching a moment when our institutions will face the test of whether they can stand up to the demands of a crypto-autocrat, who wants to run the Department of Justice as a personal fiefdom.  And he is being enabled by his own party who refuse to put country before party. The release of the Nunes memo, and Trump’s declaration that the FBI and the Department of Justice favor the Democrats, sets us on the path to the dismissal of Rod Rosenstein, and his replacement by a DOJ employee prepared to axe Robert Mueller and his investigation.  This is willful obstruction of justice, not just by one man, but by an entire Party.  There is not, and there never was, any intention to let the Mueller investigation run its course. President Trump shows all the signs of an autocrat-in-waiting.  He has attacked the media incessantly (“enemy of the people”), while finding one news outlet (Fox News and Sean Hannity) which functions as his mouthpiece.  He has attacked the independence of the judiciary.  He clearly believes the Department of Justice is there to do his bidding. He demonizes his political opponents.  It’s “us vs. them.”  He lies repeatedly, and through the use of simple slogans, like “Fake News” and “Sad,”  he distorts reality to his own ends such that facts are no longer facts.  He clearly admires autocratic leaders – Putin, Erdogan, Dutarte, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman-- and has been silent on human rights abuses by “strongmen” leaders around the world. Timothy Snyder in his excellent book “On Tyranny” warns of the almost imperceptible steps that build on one another to acceptance of authoritarianism.  We cannot let this attack on our law enforcement agents and system of justice go unanswered. Where do you place the hands on Democracy’s Doomsday Clock?  
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ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Lance is Not Recyclable

ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT:  Lance is Not Recyclable Creating hell on earth seems to be the goal of the current Republican Administration.  Putting the EPA under Scott Pruitt is akin to putting a tobacco company executive in the role of Surgeon General.  Amongst other iniquities, he has eliminated more than 30 environmental protection rules. AND he signed on for a 31% reduction in the EPA budget, generously scaled back to a mere $528 million cut by Congress.
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GOP Votes to Release Memo and Plans to Investigate FBI

A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM NJ7 CITIZENS FOR CHANGE: ENOUGH! Our democracy is under attack, not from without, but from within. An ego-driven president with strong autocratic tendencies is being supported by the extreme right wing within his own party, by the remaining “go along to get along” Vichy Republicans in congress, and by a Fox News organization that feeds and thrives on conspiracy theories. The Republican Party has chosen to undermine the FBI rather than make any attempt to suppress and rebuff a clear attempt by a foreign power, Russia, to interfere in the election process. And in taking this step, they have ignored the dire warnings of the Department of Justice that doing so would be “extraordinarily reckless” and have national security implications. If it is the Department of Justice and FBI that is under attack today, then who tomorrow? Mueller? AG Rosenstein? The courts and judiciary will follow; the president has already made his views on judges known. Delegitimizing the press has been an obsession of his since even before he took office. This has all the hallmarks of a “Reichstag moment” for our democracy, the moment that the norms and values of a free and democratic society are subverted in favor of one-party demagoguery. Leonard Lance, in voicing his support for the GOP’s obstruction efforts against the Russia investigation, has chosen once again to put party before country and must not be re-elected this November. Please DONATE $10 NOW, and while the Democratic Primary candidates vie for nomination, we'll work to show the good people of NJ07 that Lance does not share their values.
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Lance Joins the GOP in Release-the-Memo-Movement

The SUBSTANCE and the SHADOW Congressman Leonard Lance has allied himself with the ”Release the Memo” movement.  This, despite the fact that the Department of Justice has  warned that to do so without DOJ/FBI review would be “extraordinarily reckless.” “I have read and reviewed the four-page memo, support its release publicly, and expect the House Leadership to authorize a vote on releasing the memo to the public soon,” said Lance, thereby jumping off the fence and onto the wrong side of history. The Memo was prepared by members of Representative Nunes’ office, and purports to show that the FBI under the Obama Administration abused its powers to spy on President Trump’s campaign, ergo the FBI is unqualified to participate in the Russia investigation. But even Fox News anchor Shepard Smith called the memo a "weapon of mass distraction . . .  misleading, distracting and lacking context.”   The Memo is the SHADOW. The SUBSTANCE is that our President is about to be interviewed by Special Counsel to determine whether he obstructed justice, colluded with the Russians, and possibly other crimes.   The SUBSTANCE is the news recently leaked that the President tried to fire that same Special Counsel in June, and was only dissuaded from doing so by the threat of resignation from his own White House Counsel, a report confirmed by the Washington Post, Fox News, amongst others.  It is NOT “Fake News” as the President claims.  Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough: “Trump’s attempts at obstruction of justice break new boundaries.”  Former Republican Congressman David Jolly:  “If the New York Times story is validated and Republicans look the other way to protect Trump from obstruction of justice charges, the GOP deserves to lose in November and Democrats should hold impeachment hearings”.  Conservative commentator Bill Kristol:   “[This] may well mean Trump recently returned to this idea, and this is a desperate attempt by McGahn to stop him again.” The SUBSTANCE is that that all of our principal intelligence gathering communities concurred that the Russians meddled in our democratic process during the 2016 electoral campaign.   The SUBSTANCE is that we need to protect the country against a serious threat. And to ensure that future elections are not compromised.  To take the Shadow for the Substance:is “to accept something false, deceitful, shallow or insubstantial in place of something true, meaningful, or valuable.” Vote for a SUBSTANTIAL Congressperson in 2018.        
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Why She Marched; One Woman’s Patriotic Journey

GUEST BLOG:  Why She Marched; One Woman’s Patriotic Journey.  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare of, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  There it is:  the Preamble.  Our nation’s “mission statement.”  I know it by heart.  Truly with heart and soul.  Sometimes I have to sing the song that goes with it, but I have it committed to memory.  Because I believe in it.  Because it matters.
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Immigration: Strength in Diversity

Immigration:  Strength in Diversity “Hope I die before I get old.”  Remember that line from the classic rock band  The Who? If you do, you’re probably on Social Security and Medicare right now. You have reached America’s Safe Haven.  Don’t feel too smug though. When those programs were created, no one expected that you would chug along until your 90’s. And as fertility rates go down, there are fewer people working to pay for your retiree benefits (no, you have not paid for those benefits in full). This is a problem.
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Please Click to Donate Now!

NJ7 Citizens for Change needs your support to continue to message to independent and undecided voters. Together, we can protect our Congressional District from the GOP. They are raising big money from millionaires. We need to be ready to respond. The grassroots can make a difference. Will you help? Click image to donate.    
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GOP Reduced to Blaming Democrats: CHIP and Dreamers at Risk

The Art of the Compromise by Merv Turner The man who “wrote” The Art of the Deal can’t cut a deal.  The party that controls the White House, the Senate and the House is reduced to blaming the opposition. After twelve months of attempted single-party rule on healthcare and on tax reform, Republicans are now shocked-- shocked!-- to learn that eventually our political system requires the Art of the Compromise.  Democrats want permanent funding for CHIP to reinstate health insurance for 9 million kids that expired in October, while Republicans were developing a $1.4 trillion tax giveaway.  Apparently, the GOP couldn’t  find the $15 billion annual cost of CHIP in that pile of corporate largesse. Democrats want a solution for the Dreamers.  “My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with," Trump said. "If they come to me with things I'm not in love with, I'm going to do it, because I respect them.”  Two days later-- two days!--  a bipartisan consensus was presented to him, and the discussion went down the s**thole.   Democrats want funding for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, where nearly 4 months after Hurricane Maria, electricity service is still not restored, hundreds of thousands have fled the island, FEMA is overwhelmed, and we still do not know how many of our fellow 3.4 million American citizens died.  A situation which our President declared was not “a real catastrophe.” Democrats want more funding for the opioid crisis, yet now we are told that it was access to Medicaid provided by Obamacare that produced the crisis.  It always comes back to Obama, doesn’t it? And yes, all of this requires an increase in domestic spending.  A pity that we just gave away $1.4 trillion. . . .  No one likes a government shutdown.  And it should be unnecessary. But the role of the opposition in a democratic system is not to lie supine, but to articulate for constituents, and serve their needs as best as possible through negotiation.  However, it takes two sides to negotiate. And that is the Art of the Deal, Mr. President.
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Women Are a Powerful Force for Change in 2018 Election

Why We March Are you going to one of the local Women’s Marches this weekend?  I hope so! The rising tide of disgust with Trump and his enablers felt by many women is a powerful force for change in 2018.  Republicans have reached the stage where Paul Ryan is pitching for women to have more babies to fund Social Security and Medicare.  “I did my part,” he said.  Really?  Maybe that is why the administration is so focused on reducing access to birth control.  That’s about the only enabling policy they can think of to increase the work force.  The United States remains one of the few countries that doesn’t mandate parental paid time off.  The “paid leave” proposal shoehorned into the tax legislation is just another tax giveaway for corporations that already provide paid leave.  One-quarter of new mothers are back on the job less than two weeks after giving birth.  Even more disturbing, maternal mortality is on the rise in the U.S.  And speaking of women’s health issues, let’s not forget the strenuous efforts to repeal Obamacare and to make it harder for low-income women to access Planned Parenthood, reduce private insurance coverage for abortions and allow states to reduce maternity coverage. After failing mightily on this, the policy has turned to one of death by a thousand cuts.  First, the individual mandate was repealed; expect the employer mandate to go next.  At a time when 60% of Americans say the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all, Republicans still talk of health care as a privilege. And our Congressman?  No friend to reproductive rights.  Lance has a 3% rating from Planned Parenthood Action Fund and a ZERO rating from National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) for his steadfast opposition to family planning and reproductive health care.    At least 62% of Lance’s constituents oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, yet Lance has voted repeatedly to defund this important women’s health care resource particularly vital for under-insured, uninsured, working class and low income women.   Turn out, march, and let Congressman Lance know the women are coming. For him.
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Honoring NJ07 Resisters: The Birth of the Resistance 2017

As we approach the anniversary of the 2017 Women's March, NJ7 Citizens for Change would like to thank our members for their tireless work and persistence. We look forward to joining you during 2018 as we bring back Democratic representation to New Jersey's 7th Congressional District! We boarded buses in the cold pre-dawn lightto protest the beginning of an ill-gotten presidency. We found solace in numberswhile teaching the next generation to fight for their rights. We gathered outside libraries to defend free speechand inside places of worship that opened their doors to us. Many of us were new to this activismbut hit the streets out of a collective sense of duty. We never thought that we’d have to march for science.But we did.And so we did. We never thought that we’d have to march against racist policies that tried to divide us.But we did. And so we did. For our neighbors, for our children,and for our neighbors’ children,and for anyone that continues to believe in the American Dream. We are awoken from our slumber,and we are undeterredbecause we are fighting for the soul of this great nation. You can hear uswhether you chose to listen or not. Ours are the voices of decent hard working peoplewho have seen this country take a dangerous turnand are concerned about where we are headed. And we are raising our handsand holding our elected leaders accountable. And when they try to violate the social contractwe will hit the streets in protest Because we know what’s at stakeand it’s bigger than all of us. So we are organizingin coffee shops and living rooms. This is our new normal.And until we have wonwe will resist. Words and photography by NJ7 Citizens for Change volunteer John M Flores  
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