Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

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No Citizens United for the Mega Churches

During the presidential campaign, I listed all the reasons why we should reject candidate Donald Trump. One was his cozying up to the religious right. In a private meeting, candidate Trump promised a group of religious right leaders he would change the rules that prevent them from engaging with partisan political activity and keeping their tax-exempt status.

If you want to read that post, the link is here.

https://tomyamaguchi.blog/2016/09/23/donald-trump-and-lgbtq-rights/

It appears the latest attempt to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment is coming in the form of the Republican’s tax cut bill.This is the message I sent to my members of Congress. If you agree, please contact your representatives now.

I continue to have concerns about the current tax revision bills being offered by Republicans in the House and Senate. I have learned the plan is to include the repeal of the so-called Johnson Amendment. This would allow religious organizations to engage in partisan political campaigns without losing their tax-exempt status. As a candidate, Donald Trump promised a small group religious conservatives that he would repeal that amendment if elected, along with the promise to nominate judges that meet their approval. At a meeting with those religious right leaders, Trump falsely asserted that the law prevents churches from using their free speech rights. In fact, the current rules allow religious organizations to speak and take positions on issues that concern them. As a Quaker, I am able to state my concerns on issues such as peace, the environment, civil rights, and social justice. I donate to the Friends Committee on National Legislation. FCNL works with both Republicans and Democrats to find bipartisan solutions to create a more just and peaceful world. My donations are not tax deductible, and I do not want a tax deduction. Nor do I want my small Quaker meeting making donations with tax-free money to candidates or parties. I know that these few dollars would have little influence compared to the resources of the mega churches.

I call the Trump plan Citizens United for the mega churches. There is already too much money influencing our elections. Allowing churches to launder money into the pockets of political candidates would further harm our democracy. Please reject this scheme to repeal the so-called Johnson Amendment.

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November 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

If Trump Wins-one last post on this election

This will be my last blog entry before the election. I have been stating my reasons why Donald Trump should not be President. While Trump has shown himself to be uniquely unfit for that office, Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be quite fit and prepared to take on the job of President.

I know a lot of people intensely hate both candidates. 60 Minutes just did a piece on how no one is voting for their candidate, but against the opposing candidate. Their report featured Republican pollster Frank Luntz who believes this is a new phenomenon, going back to the Gore/Bush race in 2000. I’m afraid it goes back much longer than that. It started when political consultants like Luntz discovered that mudslinging works and you can manipulate people with language that invokes fear and anger. If you reinforce a negative image of a candidate, you can discourage potential supporters from coming out and voting for the candidate. So as more cash flows into negative ads, voting turnout keeps going down. Now, Citizens United has unleashed even more money into the campaigns, generating more negative ads. Don’t like the crop of candidates we have in these elections? It is amazing how many good people subject themselves to the humiliating process of running for public office. Hillary Clinton has received two decades of such vilification. Clinton continues to stand up to such vile attacks, giving me more reason to support her.

I understand that all the work I have done can result in failure. Trump can win this election. He can do that because, not only does the right wing hate Clinton more than they hate Trump, they see how important the Supreme Court is in this election. We have one vacancy already and will probably have one or more in the next four years.

No matter who wins, two things will be certain for me. One is that I will wake up on Wednesday morning knowing I did all I could in this election. I spent more hours working on this presidential campaign than any other in my life. I knew that if I did not, I would regret it. On this last day of one more shift of contacting voters in battleground states, I have no regrets with that work.

The second thing I will be certain is that my work will not be over. A Trump win would make that work much more difficult, but I will still not be discouraged and give up, especially on the issue of climate change. Having two climate deniers in the White House will be a be setback in our attempts to put a price on carbon.

If Clinton wins, that work will still be difficult, especially if the Republicans still control the Senate and the House. That makes my work with Citizens Climate Lobby even more important. The only way to get a price on carbon is with a bill that has the support of both Democrats and Republicans.

If Clinton wins, the sad truth is that over 40% of the voters will wake up believing the election was stolen and the system is rigged against them The work to heal this nation will probably be the most difficult of all. For the sake of our democracy, we have no other choice than to try.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tired of money influencing politics? You don’t want Trump.

If you are in the least bit politically active, you are probably tired of looking at your email inbox. The messages are urgent and straight to the point:

  • Send money or we will lose.
  • We are down in the polls.
  • Our opponents are outspending us.
  • It all depends on you whether we win or lose.

In 2012, I registered Republican in order to vote in the presidential primary. I have been receiving Republican fundraising emails ever since, even though I have not given them a penny. (Well, I did respond to a Trump fundraising letter, as I blogged earlier.) Regardless of party, the messages are all the same. Send us more and more money. Many people agree there is too much money in politics. How we get it out is the issue.

In the 2008 primary, I was registered Democratic and about to mark my vote-by-mail ballot. I was choosing between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two good candidates who had strengths and weaknesses. For me, Obama’s biggest weakness was his lack of experience in elective office, mostly in the Illinois legislature and a couple of years in the US Senate. On the other hand, Obama came with a lot of life experience, growing up outside the US and understanding what life is like for people who are not like us. He also had a lot of campaigning experience as a grassroots, community organizer. If you don’t have the skills to run for office, you will never get the chance to use your skills for holding office. Clinton had more experience than Obama, but I was concerned about the strong animosity against her, which I believe is rooted in misogyny.The right wing has been organizing since she was elected to the Senate, sensing that the White House would be her eventual goal. On the other hand, Obama would have racism to contend with as the first black nominee.

As I looked over my ballot, my housemate Bob came to my room to tell me the latest news he had heard.of a 527 political group calling itself Citizens United Not Timid. Yes, the initials spell out CUNT, and the man who organized the group is Roger Stone, who now works for Donald Trump. http://www.salon.com/2008/01/24/roger_stone/. As soon as I heard that, I was angry enough to mark my ballot for Clinton. I would go on to vote for Obama in the general election, but I am still proud of my vote for Clinton as a blow against such blatant misogyny.

The Citizens United that created the anti-Hillary movie and took its case to the Supreme Court was a different group, and that is a strange story. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/time-trump-aide-sued-trump-adviser-over-anti-hillary-group-called-cunt. Both are examples of how big money has been used to create negative images of Clinton and her trustworthiness that are devoid of any evidence of wrong doing.

In her current run for the presidency, Clinton does rely on Super PAC money. She realizes she needs to use that money to combat the Super PACs that have been organizing against her for years. One that has been sending me emails calls itself the Stop Hillary PAC. It spent much of last year boosting Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi investigation. This year, they are supporting Donald Trump.

stop-hillary-pac

If elected, Trump promises more judges on the Supreme Court like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Scalia and Thomas ruled in favor of Citizens United. He promised that to the religious right. In addition, he promised them to end the IRS rule that prevents churches from using their tax-free money to fund partisan political campaigns. I call it Citizens United for the Mega Churches.

Donald Trump bills himself as an outsider who is unbought by special interests. I blogged earlier how that is a myth. Trump is in the pocket of the religious right and, possibly, the Russians. He uses his wealth for lobbying and promoting his own business interests.

That is another reason I urge voters to reject Trump. We need to overturn Citizens United and get Supreme Court justices who recognize the corrupting influence of money in our democracy. I have heard some argue that money does not influence elections, using examples where the candidate who spent the most had lost. I have my own theory of how the current system hurts democracy, though I don’t have evidence to back it. I have been observing how the percentage of voter participation continues to decline as the money spent on campaigns continue to grow. Much of that money has been spent on negative ads. Even though people say they don’t like the negative ads, the sad fact is that those commercials are effective. They are effective at suppressing the vote. They are designed to get supporters of the attacked candidate to give up and not bothering to vote. (Trump is relying on voter suppression to get elected. During the primaries he told those who were not supporting him to not vote. Not voting in this election is giving Trump exactly what he wants.)

If you want to stop the obscene amount of money going into our elections, you are better off with Clinton, not Trump.

November 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment