This Congress passed a bill giving all unemployed Americans an additional $300 a month to help them until they can return to the workplace. I t was part of the massive covid relief bill which had unanimous Democratic support. And unanimous GOP rejection. As in all laws the GOP does not like, many GOP-run states are simply refusing to enforce it. They are rejecting the additional monies which help the poorest working families in their states.
As of 2 days ago the following states, all with Republican governments, chose to not allow their unemployed citizens the additional funding. Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Missouri have all told their poor unemployed: Sorry, no extra help for you. Yesterday, Ohio joined the parade.
To be clear, this money comes from the federal government. Which means most of it comes from the “blue” states which have been subsidizing the “red ” states for years. So, I suppose, those of us who have been keeping the welfare states afloat should be happy. Less money being drained from us.
A semi-intelligent person (me, for example) might ask the question: Why would the leadership of a state refuse free help for the workers in that state?Working families who need temporary assistance to pay the bills. How does that benefit, say, Idaho?
The governors of those states have the answer. If you give these unemployed workers all this money, they will refuse to work. They will sit on their fat (ethnic) butts and do nothing. As we break this down to dollars and cents.
The additional $300 a month breaks down to $10 per day. $10 per day. So, the Republican governors believe (do they?) that an additional $10 a day will keep people from going back to work.The lazy bastards are just sitting around rather than going out and getting a job for $7.25 (as in Idaho) . How are businesses going to get workers for $ 7.25 an hour when the lazy bastards can sit home and make 10 bucks a day?!
I understand the philosophy behind this. After all, the GOP in these states support keeping wages low for the working poor and profits high for non-working rich. I respect that philosophy. It is as old as the grand old Confederacy. Crush workers. No unionization. No benefits. Keep a population completely dependent and willing to take any job at any wage just to survive. It is a long held noble philosophy of the right wing.
But, being a practical man, I do not understand one thing. The federal government is giving workers an additional $10 a day. What are they going to do with that extra money? Invest it in the stock market? Put it away in their “Yacht Savings Account”? Maybe spend it on a Disney World vacation?
I would suggest that this $10 a day would be spent immediately. At the local grocery store. At the auto mechanic. Paying the bill to the local utility company. Shoes for kids. A visit to the local doctor. All of this additional money would go directly into the local economy. Which would create…uh…more jobs.
So, congratulations to the GOP states. You have not only deprived your own citizens (Of course, you don’t see working people as “your” citizens). You have taken money out of local economies. Money that would help keep the local grocer, mechanic, etc. afloat. Hard to figure.
Gabriel Sterling is outraged. He is the Republican commissioner of elections in Georgia and he is mad. He is angry with Donald Trump and the Republican members of the US Senate. He has had enough! Some of what he has said:
“Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions,” Sterling said, visibly angry. “This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some.”
Ouch! Calling out the POTUS. Why? Well, there has been a campaign of lies and disinformation about the Georgia election. Trump has even attacked REPUBLICAN leaders in Georgia. There have been death threats against election workers. Just guys doing their job.
And Sterling is mad as hell. A performance for the ages. Angry. How dare Mr Trump attack fellow Republicans? How dare Trump not condemn calls for violence against elected Republican officials? Finally, someone stands up for decency!
A Sterling Performance.
I have no doubt that Mr Sterling is sincere in his anger. His anger about lies. About calls for violence, no matter how thinly veiled. Mad as hell. Of course, Mr Sterling has made it clear that he supports Trump and his policies. He supports the two corrupt GOP candidates for the Senate in Georgia, as well. But he is mad as hell that Trump and his supporters are attacking Republicans.
But… I wonder where Mr Sterling has been over the last 5 years?
Where was his anger at the lies told by Trump about President Obama and where he was born. Birtherism?
Where was his anger when Trump led chants of “Lock Her Up” proposing that his opponent in the 2016 election be jailed?
Where was his outrage when Trump claimed massive voter fraud in 2016 but provided not evidence?
Where was his anger when Trump targeted Muslims as enemies of the US?
Where was his anger when Mr trump complimented racists at Charlottesville as very good people?
Where was his anger when Trump called Mexicans rapists and criminals?
Where was his outrage when Trump engaged in a policy of ripping children from their parents at the border and shipping them across the country to be lost in the system?
Where was his outrage when Trump called on his supporters to “rebel” against the governor of Michigan?
Where was his anger at Mr Trump using the US government to try to force the president of Ukraine to make up false information about Joe Biden?
Where was his anger as thousands of Americans die for covid-19 while the corrupt president golfs?
And I could go on and on and on.
A Sterling performance. And typical of a political party that will accept any corruption. Any language. And lies. Anything goes.
As long as they are aimed at “the other”. As long as the targets are Democrats or liberals or blacks or Muslims.
Once again we see the shock and horror that a black man has been murdered in broad daylight by someone legally hired and empowered by the state. YAWN.
Once again we hear the calls for peace and tranquility. Calls for “law and order”. Calls for patience . The questioning of “How did we come to this?” YAWN
The US did not “come to this”. This is who we are. As a nation. Our holy and worshiped founding fathers made it clear in the Constitution. Black men and women are 3/5th of a person. It was true then, it is true now.
Article 1, section 2 … Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
Of course “all other persons” were the slaves. So the southern states could claim the black men, women and children were property. And then claim that those very same men , women and children must be counted as 3/5 of a person for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives.
So, at the outset of the Civil War almost 4,000,000 slaves added 2,400,000 “persons” to the total population of the slave states. Giving the slave states representation in Congress far beyond the actual number of “citizens”.
From day one black people in the United States have been considered less than “full” people. And that is the bare truth of the foundations of this nation. Like it or not.
So, when the KKK brutalized black Americans after the racists lost the Civil War, it should come as no surprise. And when Jim Crow kept blacks from getting uppity in the south, that should come as no surprise. And when black soldiers returning from WW2 were refused service at restaurants and denied the right to vote, that should come as no surprise.
What should be surprising is the strength of the myth. The myth that the US was founded on principles of freedom, democracy, blah,blah,blah. That has never been and never was the reality. It was and is “fake news”.
Now, you may say, but what about the Voting Rights Act and other Civil Rights acts? Don’t they show progress? To that I respond thusly.
If the US was founded and grew on principles of equality, why was there a need for a Voting Rights Act? Or special Civil Rights acts? Why did we need special laws for black men and women just to try to give them the same rights the rest of society enjoys? In the “land of the free” why was it necessary to write special laws giving “freedom” to citizens who should have already had it?
And, as we have seen, the Supreme Court has overturned even those laws. Since the Voting Rights Act was rescinded how many states immediately took steps to suppress and deny votes to black citizens? How many blacks were purged illegally from the voting rolls in Florida in 2000, giving the election to GW Bush? How many were purged in North Carolina and Georgia in 2016?
But the myth lives on. It is a nice myth. A comfortable myth. A myth that tries to place the suppression and murder of black Americans in a certain context. That context is this: The murder and suppression of blacks in the US is an aberration. A blip on the screen of democracy. A pimple on the otherwise perfect face of equality.
I disagree. Racism has been at the core of the American experience. The very core of the legal system. It is as old as the US Constitution and may never be erased. Racism is as American as violence. Both go hand in hand.
It is not just the south. In the north as well racism is a core value. Highways were built around cities effectively cutting off black neighborhoods from white ones. The attempt at segregation was halted by the practices of the banking industry. Schools in NY, for example, are among the most highly segregated in the nation.
So, let’s stop pretending. The 3/5 solution is still with us. Black men and women are not valued unless they can sing or bounce a basketball. Racism is not a southern phenomenon or an aberration. It is what America was founded on.
Is there a “solution”? There can be no solution when those in power do not see a problem. Or identify the problem as a “black” problem. Just another example of “uppity” Negroes not knowing their place. It has always been thus in America and I suspect may always be so.
I know if I were a black person in America I would go nowhere without being armed. I would suspect every police officer of being a potential killer. I would shoot first and ask questions later. I would know, not just claim, that my life is in danger every day. In fact, I remain amazed at the patience and willingness of most black Americans to work “within the system” when the system is so obviously corrupt. I would not have that patience.
Is there a “solution’? Not until we confront and destroy the myth. The myth of the “founding fathers” and the myth of “democracy” and the myth of “equal justice under the law”.
People die easy. A bullet . A knee to the neck. A chokehold. Myths are not so easy to kill. The 3/5 solution is on display every day.
No, not the whistle blower who saw the illegal actions of Trump and reported them to the proper authorities. Not yet, anyway. This whistle blower was Chinese doctor from Wuhan province. He is dead from the highly contagious deadly virus we call coronavirus.
Dr. Li Wenliang was only 34 years old. When he discovered the fact that his patient had an unknown virus and was spreading it, he took action. He thought it might be SARS. It was too late for him, since he had no way of knowing how virulent the virus was before he treated his patients.
As soon as he understood the possible repercussions of the virus he immediately informed his colleagues on a web site. On December 31 he put out the warning. This was bad. This was transmitted human to human. This was highly contagious and deadly. Take precautions . Get on top of this. He blew the whistle on the virus.
The Chinese government did not like it. Bad PR. Might lead to panic. So, Dr . Li Wenlaing was arrested. YES. Arrested for blowing the whistle. Then he was silenced.
Then he was forced to plead guilty. To spreading rumors. From an interview he did a few days before his death.
How did you feel when the police accused you of spreading rumors?
The police believed this virus was not confirmed to be SARS. They believed I was spreading rumors. They asked me to acknowledge that I was at fault.
I felt I was being wronged, but I had to accept it. Obviously I had been acting out of good will. I felt very sad seeing so many people losing their loved ones.
How long will it take you to recover? What do you plan to do afterward?
I started coughing on Jan. 10. It will take me another 15 days or so to recover. I will join medical workers in fighting the epidemic. That’s where my responsibilities lie.
But the good doctor did not survive. At 34, he is dead, leaving behind a wife, a 4 year old and an unborn child. According to Dr Li Wenliang if the government had disclosed the possible problems with the virus earlier, it may have limited the spread.
So, the whistle blower is dead. He was guilty, under Chinese law, of spreading rumors. He was silenced.
We don’t silence whistle blowers in the US. They are protected. We want them to come forth with information the public needs. Or information about government wrongdoing.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has a different idea, however. He follows the Chinese model. He plans to call the whistle blower and make him pay for blowing the whistle on Trump’s illegal activities.
“During an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo over the weekend, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham vowed to compel testimony from the whistleblower in order to get to the bottom of what led to impeachment against President Trump. He also reiterated his plans to investigate the Bidens for their involvement with Burisma, the most corrupt company in Ukraine. ….
“”The day of reckoning is coming for congressional and Senate oversight of Joe Biden and the FISA warrant process,” Graham said.
A day of reckoning. For all whistle blowers. President Trump agrees. And president Xi of China concurs.
As the three people who read my blog know, I am pretty good at predicting things. I predicted that Jeb Bush would win the presidency in 2016, that Medicare for all would be enacted and that all Republican gun owners would turn in their weapons as a show of support for children murdered every day in America. OK, so maybe no so good. HOWEVER, here is part of my end of the year prediction from December , 2017, when the GOP controlled both houses…
“Finally. Congress votes itself a 50% pay raise for a “job well done”. The legislative branch passed a total of three bills. They were: 1. “The Amazing Trump is the Best President Ever” bill awarding the Trump Medal of MAGA to the best person in America. This year’s recipient? Donald Trump. 2. “The FBI Traitor” law. Which labels all members of the FBI, former and current, official “enemies of the people” and subject to immediate permanent detention and prosecution for doing “bad stuff”. Mueller is the first to be perp walked. 3. “Congressional Vacation Act” which allows Congress to take a vacation for a period including January 2 through December 30, with pay and expenses for fact finding travel. Mr Trump signed all three bills and praised Congress for their services… which will no longer be necessary.”
I was watching the pundits on Morning Joe this morning talking about the demise of the Democratic Party because of the APP problems in counting the Iowa Democratic caucus votes. Their main theme was the incompetency of the Democratic Party. And by extension any Democratic administration. Okey Dokey.
This was similar to another Democratic government run debacle with the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. We all remember how Obama and the Dems screwed that up. Big government at its worse. Except.
Except both the ACA roll out and the Iowa caucus problems were not caused by “big government” at all. Both were major technical problems made by private contractors, not the government. In a nation where the prevailing narrative remains that business is more efficient than government, we see the opposite. It is the private contractors that screw things up. Regularly.
Now, let’s look at really BIG government, the Social Security administration and Veterans administration. These are the government folks who send out your Social Security and Veterans benefit checks. And have been doing so for decades. Ever miss a payment? Ever have a check bounce. Ever have a failure to deliver? I rest my case.
But, back to the pundits who are already predicting the end of the Democratic Party. It is February 4, 2020. Between now and Election day there will be at least 10 new things that will once again give the pundits something new to predict. And they will be just as certain of themselves and just as wrong as they always are. As a self-made pundit, here are my 10 new things.
1. One of the Democratic candidates will be physically assaulted, by weapon or by fist. And she will punch back.
2. A major US corporation will file for bankruptcy. And be given tax dollars as compensation.
3. Kim Jung Un will announce that he has a nuclear weapon and the ability to reach the US with it. Also announces a contract for new Trump Tower in Pyongyang.
4. Donald Trump, Jr will announce the best trade deal ever with China, and the details will be forthcoming. The details never come forth.
5. A number of global warming catastrophes around the globe will prompt the UN to hold a global warming summit, which the US will refuse to support.
6. The GNP will continue to hover around 2.3% but no one knows what that means. Although 76% of the population is certain it has something to do with the Super Bowl.
7. Photos will emerge of Mike Pence leaving a room with a woman. She looks scared. So does he.
8. Israel will announce that they accept the Kushner peace plan which allows Palestinians to look at their former homes on the West Bank during Ramadan. For 2 minutes.
9. Mike Bloomberg will buy North Dakota, Mississippi and Arkansas, giving him enough votes to win the election. He complains that he has used up all his pocket change for the week.
10. Vlad Putin will make a surprise appearance at the Republican convention and will graciously accept the nomination for president by acclimation of the party. Why not eliminate the middle man? Vlad will then appoint Ivanka Trump as his running mate.
So, those are my predictions. And after each event the pundits will all-knowingly tell us what it means. Again.
I know what you are thinking. Most of these are WAY OUT THERE and probably not going to happen. But number 10 is just obvious.
The impeachment trial of Donald Trump started last week. The House managers presented a very thorough case. Now it is the time for the defenders of the president to speak. Fair enough.
So, what should they say? Well, let’s look at what the House has presented and see how they can respond.
The House case focuses first on the withholding of aid to Ukraine and the withholding of a meeting in the Oval Office with the president of the Ukraine. Both are important to the Ukraine for what should be obvious reasons. Ukraine is partially occupied and is at war with Putin’s Russia. Not to belabor the point but again. Ukraine is partially occupied and at war with Putin’s Russia.
So, the Ukraine desperately needs military help. Which the Congress and the president have given them.They also just as desperately need Putin to understand that the US stands with Ukraine against his illegal occupation and aggression. So, both the military and political aid are essential.
It is a fact that the Department of Defense was ready to start to distribute the military aid to Ukraine on June 18, 2019. From the DOD website:
The DOD does not release any military aid unless a thorough review has been done to make sure the country is meeting the requirements for fighting corruption, insuring human rights, etc.
So, for the president’s Defense Team. The first point they need to address is why the military aid was withheld. What information came to light between June 18 and the hold on the aid? There may be legitimate reasons for withholding aid, if so, what were they? And why was the very process for withholding aid taken out of the usual channels and handed over to a political appointee, rather than a career official?
Along the same lines, the defense may argue that the president can unilaterally withhold aid for any reason. In fact, the aid was held up 9 different times, with no explanation. However, the Government Accounting Office relayed a decision that what Trump did was break the law. A law that requires him to notify Congress with reasons for any hold up in aid:
“In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation. Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA….”
So, the president or his staff broke the law. Period. His defense team needs to explain that and justify the hold on military aid. Why did the president think it was essential to break the law? Perhaps he had good reason.Legal reasons. What were they? And why was Congress never notified?
Furthermore, since aid was eventually released they need to answer another question. What happened to make the president change his mind and lift the hold? What new evidence emerged? Did he discover it was illegal or was there a change in Ukraine? What specific reason was there for all of a sudden releasing most of the aid?
The second charge on impeachment brought by the House managers was the obstruction of Congress. Now, it is pretty obvious that Congress was obstructed since the president refused to provide and documents or witnesses to help in the investigation. The question is, was that obstruction legal?
On Saturday the president’s team argued that the entire impeachment proceeding was illegal. So, since the proceeding was illegal they had no requirement to cooperate. Of course, this argument does have a major hole.
The position presupposes that the executive branch alone can decide for the House of Representatives what it can and cannot investigate. In other words, although the Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment to the House, the executive branch can overrule that power. The position falls flat on two levels. First, it disregards the specific language of the Constitution.
Article 1, Section 2: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Of course it makes no sense legally or logically for the object of an impeachment or investigation to have the power to end an impeachment or investigation.
Along the same lines the president’s defense claimed that the House violated their own rules, so therefore the very impeachment itself is illegal. Yet, here we are. The Senate, controlled by Mitch McConnell, recognized the legality of impeachment. The Supreme Court, along with Chief Justice Roberts, recognizes the legality of the impeachment. We are having a trial precisely because the House acted legally. So, once again we have the president, alone, making claims that no other branch of government agrees with.
Now, it is legal for the president to, in certain circumstances, invoke “executive privilege”. However, invoking that privilege means the president has to make a case, before a court, that the documents or testimony being withheld is being done for legitimate national security concerns. So far, Mr Trump has made no such claim.
His lawyers, however, have taken the position that he can claim executive privilege without making a formal claim of executive privilege. In their words, he can hide anything he wants for any reason he wants. In other words, the chief executive is supreme and cannot be investigated or impeached. Trump has taken this position publicly:
“…Trump was giving a speech at a Turning Point USA conference, where he predictably veered off into a tirade about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and how, as president, Trump could’ve stopped it.
“I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” Trump said. “But I don’t even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction.”…”
“…During a pre-taped one-on-one interview with ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos, Trump argued that “a lot of great lawyers” agree that Article 2 of the Constitution means that the President can’t obstruct justice.
“So a president can’t obstruct justice?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“A president can run the country,” Trump responded. “And that’s what happened, George. I run the country and I run it well.”
“When the President does it, it’s not illegal?” Stephanopoulos asked….”
“I’m just saying a president under Article 2–it’s very strong, read it,” Trump said. “Do you have Article 2? Read it.”
(To be clear, executive privilege is not mentioned in the Constitution)
So, the president’s defense team will have to find a justification that he has refused to cooperate with Congress. While they may rightly point to very specific instances where other president’s have attempted (successfully or unsuccessfully) to invoke “executive privilege”, they will have to justify an unbridled power of the president to hide all his actions and documents.
Now, will the defense team address these issues raised by the House managers? Will they respond to the facts and evidence in the charges? Will they talk about how the Democrats have hated Trump from day one? Will they talk about Adam Schiff? Will they talk about the Mueller Report being a hoax? Will they claim the entire procedure is a “witch hunt”? Or will they talk about how corrupt the Biden’s are? Benghazi Redux?
In other words, will they address the points the Hose manager have made, or will they deflect ? Isn’t the answer obvious?
Chris Wallace, of Fox News, interviewed Senator Kennedy of Louisiana during his Sunday morning talk show. Wallace was very specific. He pointed out that the entire Intelligence apparatus of the US government concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. And Ukraine did not.
He pointed out that any Ukrainian interference claims had been debunked. He was clear.
Kennedy responded that he did not know. He said it COULD have been Ukrainians, but no one knows. Could have been.
When Wallace pointed out that there was NO EVIDENCE to support that claim, Kennedy responded (trying to be clever, I think), the the “absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”. Just because there is no evidence a crime has been committed does not mean a crime has NOT been committed. Just because there is no evidence that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election does not mean Ukraine did NOT interfere in the 2016 election.
Now, it is hard. No, It take that back. It is IMPOSSIBLE to argue with that line of reasoning. What isn’t there isn’t there but that doesn’t mean it might not be there.
Senator Kennedy got me thinking. Always a dangerous situation. So, let’s take a look back at other moments in history and revisit them.
The Holocaust. No one, well, there are a few, claims the Holocaust did not occur. But did it? Some people say it didn’t. And even if it did occur, who was behind it? There is evidence that the Nazis and other Germans were responsible. But could it have been someone else?
In the 1930s there was a tribe in Kenya called the “Kikuyu”. Never did the Kikuyu issue a statement of support for Jews. NEVER. We know that in later years the Kikuyu rose up and fought the British who had colonized Kenya. It was called the “Mau Mau” uprising. Is it possible that the Kikuyu were anti-Semitic? There is no evidence contradicting that idea. So, it is POSSIBLE that the Kikuyu, not the Nazis, were actually responsible for the death camps. They hated whites. Jews are white. The Kikuyu were violent. The camps were violent. The “absence of evidence ” should not stop us from pointing out the obvious: The Kikuyu COULD have run the death camps.
The US Civil War. From 1861-1865 the US was engaged in a great civil war. No one denies that fact. But who was really responsible and why was it fought? There are a few ideas and some that have supporting evidence. Was it to protect the institution of slavery? Evidence for that. Was it to break up the union? Evidence of that. Was it to maintain states rights? Evidence of that.
However, is there something else at play? Perhaps. Keep in mind, I have NO EVIDENCE that the following happened. Nevertheless. Follow me.
Baseball was just becoming popular in the 1860s. A few teams were starting up, playing teams from other towns. But how could baseball grow into a national past time? The baseball team owners needed a war. This would divide the nation and make people more loyal to their own towns, hence their own teams. (Even today, some misguided fools support the Detroit Tigers!)
So, the team owners got together and hired some southerners to attack Fort Sumter. They hired Jeff Davis, Robert E Lee, Jeb Stuart and others to go to war with the north. It is POSSIBLE that even A. Lincoln was in on the plot. I have NO EVIDENCE but it is said by some that he owned the rights to the Chicago White Sox. WHITE !!! Racism!!!
So, was Abe Lincoln the person who started the Civil War for his own personal profit? I have NO EVIDENCE of this. But Like Senator Kennedy said: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
The DNC Ukraine Connection in 2016. Now we get to the juicy one. What was the connection between the Ukrainian government and the DNC server hack. The US intelligence services have investigated and found NO EVIDENCE. So what?
According to GOP sources, here is what happened. The DNC paid Cloudstrike to hack the DNC computers. So , they paid to have themselves hacked. Now , a reasonable person may ask why they would do that? Easy.
The DNC had their own computers hacked and damaging emails released by Wikileaks because they wanted to undermine the Trump campaign. The DNC wanted Trump to be elected so they could then IMPEACH him ! A clever ploy.
To hide their plot the DNC shipped their server to the Ukraine. And kept it hidden. You may ask why they just didn’t dump it into the Atlantic Ocean. Silly people. If they dumped it there would be NO EVIDENCE that they hacked themselves. By hacking themselves and blaming it on Putin they could then undermine the Trump administration. Simple. Of course, there is no evidence of this, but recall.
The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Which leads me to my final example. Or fact. Or whatever.
Is Senator Kennedy a child molester? I want to be very clear about this. I am not accusing Senator Kennedy of being a child molester. There is NO EVIDENCE that he is a child molester. No one, to my knowledge has ever accused him of being a child molester.
Kennedy is a male. An old white male. We know that some old white males are child molesters. That is indisputable. Also, Kennedy would undoubtedly DENY he is a child molester. But isn’t that EXACTLY what a child molester would do? Do I have EVIDENCE? No, but then has the FBI ever investigated him for child molestation? I don’t know. Perhaps the entire Fox interview given by Kennedy was designed to throw the FBI off the trail. To hide his crimes. Who knows? Could be.
Remember that Kennedy himself has said: “Absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence“. Right?
I am not much for conspiracy theories. Most have no basis in evidence. So as a liberal I have always told myself that fascism cannot happen here. We have a long history of the rule of law and democratic traditions. There is no way the US could fall into a dictatorship. I firmly believed that.
Students of history tell us that democracies have fallen in the past. Taken over by “strong men”. Men who demanded allegiance to themselves above allegiance to the law. Who demand loyalty oaths. Who tell the “Big Lie”. Rome , in ancient times, lost the Republic to a dictatorship. It was not that long ago that the democracies of Germany and Italy fell to demagogues. Under Gorbachev, Russia was on its way to becoming a democracy, then Putin and the oligarchs took over. We are not immune.
What has been the great strength of the US has been the separation of powers. Checks and balances. The executive, legislative and judicial branches each checking the power of the others. The delicate balance of power.
So, when Richard Nixon violated the law the Supreme Court and Congress stepped in and said “No”. You cannot do that. You will not do that. We are loyal to the Constitution and the nation, not to you personally. We do not confuse the Presidency with the person currently holding that role. So Nixon was forced to resign or be impeached.
We have fewer checks and balances today. The Republican Party has , over the last 40 years, slowly morphed into a cult. It is now lead by Mr Trump. It is a personality cult whose loyalty is to him personally, not to the rule of law. The Republican Congress sits by while Mr Trump obstructs an investigation into his financial dealings and connections with Russia.
Mr Trump acts like a mobster. Mr Trump attacks citizens who are Muslims. Mr Trump attacks the FBI. Mr Trump attacks the Department of Justice. Mr Trump makes wild and unsubstantiated claims on a daily basis. He attacks the free press. He attacks individual members of Congress . And the Republicans in Congress acquiesce. Worse than that, the leadership of the GOP colludes and enables this man.
There is only a check and balance system if the legislative branch decides to honor and follow the law. This Republican Congress refused to do so. They had become lapdogs content in the lap of the “Great leader”. Now that the Democrats control the House we are finally seeing some accountability. But only some.
The Republican Senate has decided that supporting this person who is undermining the basic institutions of democracy is the thing to do. The man is above the law.
Mr Trump knows he will not face any consequences from this Senate. He can fire the special prosecutor and this Senate will do nothing. Or worse. They will follow and encourage him. He has signed their tax bill for the wealthy. He has given them 2 Supreme Court members who will, in the future, support corporate interests over individual rights. They will now return the favor.
The president wanted a wall between the US and Mexico. When the Congress refused to fund that wall, he simply said he would ignore Congress and do it anyway. The Republican majority leader in the Senate has supported the president. He has said, in effect, that the president does not have any check on him from Congress.
Any student of history that understands the rise of Mussolini, Hitler or Putin can see what happens when power gets concentrated in the hands of the executive branch. With no checks . Germany was a democracy in 1932. By 1936 it was a dictatorship. One man did not “take over”. He had plenty of help when he attacked the press (lugenpresse) and the elected assembly.
So, it can happen here. Don’t doubt it.
Liberals need to stop lying to themselves about the far right that has taken over the Republican Party. They do not hold to the same core beliefs as the founding fathers.
Liberals have been far too passive in dealing with the right wing in this country. We have been victims of our own belief in the American values and basic honesty and decency. Liberals understand that the conservatives, especially since 1980, simply do not believe in the US Constitution. They do not believe in the Bill of Rights. They do not believe in democracy. Liberals must understand that and act accordingly.
The Republican party has ceased being the party of small business and fiscal responsibility. It has become a tool of corporations and a radical right wing. Worse, it has morphed into a personality cult devoted to the “fearless leader”. Dangerous. Only the utter destruction of that party will open the door for real change.
In 2018 the American people had a choice. Stick with President Trump and the GOP or return the Dems to power. The results are in. Almost.
In some districts in NY and California they are still counting ballots. Many were submitted by mail and have yet to be tallied. It is taking a while. And the Republic still stands.
Which is an aside. Why not just have all paper ballots? It takes a little longer to count, but so what. We have an election in early November and the new Congress takes office in early January. That is almost 60 days. Plenty of time .
Paper ballots are not subject to computer fraud or machine error. They cannot be hacked by the Russians or the Chinese. Large numbers of votes can’t be “accidentally” or intentionally switched. The safest, most reliable form of voting. But I digress.
The results of the 2018 elections:
Governors: 20 Republicans won; 16 Dems won. The GOP holds 27 states, mostly in the south and plains. The Dems hold 23, mostly in the far west, the upper Midwest and the east. More significant is that Alaska switched from the Independent to the GOP, while Nevada, New Mexico, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Maine switched from the GOP to Dems. 45 million voted for Dem governors while 42 million voted for GOP governors.
Senate: Dems won 21 seats plus 2 (Vermont and Maine) that caucus with the Dems. GOP won 11 seats. A final total of 23-11. On the Senate elections 55.6 million Americans voted Democratic, while 34.4 million voted GOP. Pretty decisive.
The House of Representatives: Dems won 234 seats, the GOP won 198 with three seats yet to be decided. The GOP leads in 2 (NY 27 and NC-9) while the Dems lead in 1 (CA-21). Total votes for GOP candidates was 49.6 million and for Dems was 56.1 million). Pretty decisive.
Two things are obvious. It was a major Democratic wave election and the country is still rigidly divided as far as political party voting is concerned.
The people voted fairly decisively for Democratic candidates and Democratic policies. Again. Mr Trump went around to a few states and did a good job of rallying his base (except in Montana). But the Democrats, without a true national leader, did a better job of speaking to the issues and getting out the vote. A lesson for future elections.
In 2016 the folks who voted for Donald Trump got what they wanted. Donald Trump. The Republican party took control of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the White House and the Supreme Court.
Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican party have been able to name 2 new justices to the Supreme Court. These justices will help determine the laws for the next 30 years. They will likely overturn a woman’s right to choose. They will likely continue to support voter suppression laws. As promised.
Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican Party have passed a $1,500,000,000,000 tax cut, with $1,200,000,000,000 of that going to the top 1%. As promised.
Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican Party have done much to gut the Affordable Care Act and cut spending on social programs. They have gutted environmental protections. Sold public land to gas and oil and timber leases for corporate profit. Built the pipeline. Added billions to the military. As promised.
Since the election Mr Trump and the Republican Party have dropped out of the Global Warming agreements, dropped out of the US-Asian trade agreements, imposed tariffs on China and Europe and in general done everything possible to destroy international treaties and cooperation. As promised.
So, why are they so mad? Why are they so unhappy? Why are the Trump supporters still chanting “Lock Her Up”? Why are they frightened all the time? Why do they fear 5 year old Honduran girls? Why so much hate? Why so much whining and complaining?
They wanted a conman, a xenophobe and a racist. They got it. They wanted a political party that suppressed the votes of minorities and that redefined American as “white”, not “diverse”. They got it. They wanted a political party that put profits ahead of people. They got it.
So why the whining? The Republican Party and Donald Trump have had complete control of the political process for 2 years and have accomplished almost everything they wanted. So, why the whining?
There is nothing they cannot make a law about. So, why the whining?
Never in US history have so many “winners” turned into so many “whiners”.
It would be interesting to find out why the folks who won the last election are so miserable.
The 4th of July. The celebration of everything good that is America.
Freedom. Democracy (limited, but still trying). Bill of Rights. Fighting against fascism.
The holiday all Americans. Leftists. Rightists. Liberals. Conservatives. Christians. Muslims. Jews. Men. Women. Whites. Blacks. Hispanics. Straights. Gays. The holiday all Americans can celebrate.
Charge up the grill. Throw on some hot dogs. Have a beer.
The most SYMBOLIC holiday. The one holiday that says: We oppose dictators. We oppose fascism. We oppose tyrants. What the Revolutionary War was all about.
So, most US Congressmen are pressing the flesh. Getting photo ops with veterans or kids or old ladies. Listening to voters. Attending parades and picnics and fireworks. Celebrating.
But not all Congressmen (and Congresswomen).
Eight members of the highest lawmaking body in the land chose to skip this 4th of July. They ignored their own citizens and went on a junket. Left the country. Not to some Caribbean beach or exotic Pacific Island. Not to inspect the devastation in Puerto Rico or see for themselves the problems at the border. Not even to use the taxpayers dollars to slip away to Paris or Amsterdam or Rome for a “fact-finding” mission/ vacation.
These lawmakers left the land of the free and the home of the brave to rub shoulders with a dictator and his handpicked representatives. They celebrated freedom by engaging with the rulers of a land run by a dictator. A dictator who , according ot the CIA, FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee, plotted ( and largely succeeded) to overthrow the US electoral system in 2016. And they are plotting to do the same in 2018, 2020, etc.
These lawmakers left the USA to do homage to Vladimir Putin. Your tax dollars at work.
“…Eight top lawmakers of the American political party now in sole control of Congress running off to Moscow to meet with Russian officials on Independence Day for no urgent reason other than to seek “a better relationship.” In essence, it’s a political gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a black eye for America delivered by Republican lawmakers (no Democrats were invited). Let’s remember these GOP names:
I called my Congressman, (NY-23rd) Tom Reed’s office last week and complained vociferously about his cowardly statement about the young children being separated from their mothers at the US border. The statement from his website, June 19, 2018:
“We care about these children being separated from their parents. These kids are unfortunate bystanders to a long-standing epidemic of weak border security and outdated laws. Congress must act in this week’s immigration reform bill to change the law so that children are not ripped from their parents’ arms, but provided a fair and compassionate solution to this heart-wrenching issue.”
I suggested to Reed’s assistant that this statement was weak and inaccurate (well, ok, I think I called Reed a “pussy”). At any rate, Mr Reed sent me a response by email (I assume it was a form letter sent out to his constituents and not a personal response). In this latest mailing he says, in part:
“…On June 27, 2018 I voted in support of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 that would end this practice of separation, and would allow children to be held with their parents in family facilities. Congress must pass legislation to solve this crisis at our southern border. Current law and court settlements require that children not be held in the same detention centers that adults are held in while they await court proceedings. This means that, under current law, the children of parents who are waiting on legal proceedings cannot be held with their parents. We must work together to fix our immigration system and close the loopholes that allow tragedies like this to take place….”
(Bold face mine).
So. Let’s dissect this.
According to Reed the separation of children and their parents at the border is required by law. He cites no law. He cites no section of any law. He cites nothing. He simply echoes the lies tweeted by Donald Trump. Which is no surprise, since Reed was an early supporter and campaign organizer for Trump in NY.
Why does he not cite any specific law? And a fact check tells us why. According to independent fact checker website Snopes:
“…There is no federal law that stipulates that children and parents be separated at the border, no matter how families entered the United States. An increase in child detainees separated from parents stemmed directly from a change in enforcement policy repeatedly announced by Sessions in April and May 2018, under which adults (with or without children) are criminally prosecuted for attempting to enter the United States:…
“…However, neither the 1997 Flores settlement nor a 2008 human trafficking law cited in that release in any way stipulated that the government separate children from their parents:…
“…A cluster of rumors about the controversial separation of families at the border held that the policy came before the Trump administration, either stemming from a 1997 “law” or purported policies of previous administrations. Those claims were false. No federal law required or suggested the family separation policy announced by Attorney General Sessions in several sets of remarks during April and May 2018....”
So, while Tom Reed and President Trump claim that the ripping of children from their parents is a problem of the law, that is simply not the case. It is an executive decision made by the President. He chose to implement this nasty policy. And Tom Reed chooses to give him cover.
Tom acts as though this horrible situation is just, uh, well, the law. Which it isn’t. President Clinton did not do this. Bush did not do this. Obama did not do this. Why not? Because it is not the law. It is a very repulsive executive decision.
Final point. Just this week President Trump relented and ended the policy . Or at least he said so. Did Trump violate the law ?
Well, Tom, if this was a law mandated by Congress how can Trump unilaterally just change it? A question I intend to ask next week when I call again.
Reed is one of those Trump politicians who talks the very moderate talk on TV. He is pushing his “brand” as one of the “Problem Solvers”. Then he votes against families, the poor, workers, SNAP and health care.
Now, he double talks about who created the mess of the toddlers from the border who, in his words , “…are …ripped from their parents’ hands…”
Today Mr Trump pardoned “Scooter” Libby for his crimes against the US government. Just as he pardoned Joe Arpaio for his crimes against the US government. Seems like Mr Trump has a soft spot in his heart for certain kinds of criminals.
What did the “scooter” do? Well. Background.
In the build up to the Iraq invasion the Bush-Cheney White House put out the narrative that Saddam had an active nuclear program. So active, in fact, that he had acquired “yellowcake” uranium from Africa. Hence, the need to attack ASAP to prevent him from building the “bomb” !!
Concerned about this revelation (and knowing nothing about it) the CIA sent Joe Wilson to Niger to investigate. For 8 days. He found that the claim was false. Not only that, he wrote an op-ed to that effect. Congress had been given twisted information in the run up to the war. They voted for a war based on lies.
Not long after that a conservative pundit, Novak, published the name of Valerie Plame announcing to the world that she was a CIA operative. He got this information from 2 Bush administration sources, one of whom was the “Scooter”, a Cheney staffer. Why would the White House leak the name of a CIA operative? And why would a journalist publish her name? To what purpose? How does this help anyone?
It turns out that Plame was the wife of Joe Wilson. So, her career with the CIA was over. More important, her informants in Europe, where she had been working under cover, were now at risk. Anyone associated with her might now be at risk. Who was feeding her information? We will never know how many lives were effected. And how many potential informants now would hesitate to deal with the CIA in fear of eventually being found out.
So, that was “Scooter’s” crime. The outing of a CIA agent for no other purpose than payback for her husband telling the truth. GW Bush REFUSED to pardon him, although he commuted his sentence.
So, why pardon “Scooter” now?
Some possible reasons. To send a message. Anyone who lies to the FBI in support of Trump has been given a clear signal…I will pardon you. Don’t worry. Keep the faith. Hold the line. Stick with the boss. Take the heat for the godfather.
Another possible reason? Distraction. Comey’s book came out today. And his interviews. And Trump is shitting himself. He has to distract. Give Hannity something to talk about? Distract from the Cohen raid. Distract form the Mueller probe.
Or, maybe Donald simply has a soft spot for criminals. White criminals. White collar criminals. Criminals he can relate to. Which leads me to conclude we will see even more pardons as the days progress and Mueller gets closer and closer to Donalds’ financial shenanigans.
I predict the following pardons from the Nuremberg trials. So many were falsely accused !!!:
April: Oswald Kaduk. Guilty of crimes against humanity. Auschwitz Trial; Karl Seufert. Guilty of crimes against humanity. Auschwitz Trial; Emil Bednarek. Guilty of crimes against humanity. Auschwitz Trial
May: Bruno Schlange. Guilty of crimes against humanity. Auschwitz Trial; Lutz Graf Schwein von Grosigk. Guilty. Ministeries Trial.; Max Otto Ihn, Guilty, Krupp Trial.
June: Ernst Biberstein. Guilty. Einsatzgruppen Trial; Carl Krok. Guilty. IG Farben Trial; Carl Genzken. Guilty. Doctors Trial.
July: Jared Kushner. Paul Manafort. Ivanka Trump. Mike Flynn, Donald Trump, Jr…..and Donald Trump…
There is an epidemic of gun violence in America. That is not even debatable. And there have been a multitude of solutions offered over time.
Most recently the President of the United States, the NRA and many members of Congress have offered the latest solution. Arm teachers. More armed guards. More guns. And more guns. And more guns.
A creative and exceptionally innovative solution to the problem of gun violence. More guns. So, I said to myself, why stop there. Maybe we can apply that same “reasoning” and “logic” to the many other problems we face. Let’s try.
Obesity is a major problem in the US. Anyone who has ever traveled to Italy or France or Spain immediately notices that there aren’t so many obese folks walking around. It could be limited to urban areas, perhaps. But, at least in my experience, folks in those countries as a rule, seem not so chunky as Americans. I , myself, have done my patriotic duty by increasing my body mass significantly over the last 50 years or so. A proud American. A BIG proud American.
What is a reasonable solution to the health issues caused by obesity? Well, former First Lady Michelle Obama started a healthy eating program to encourage kids to develop good eating habits at a young age. She was vilified by the right wing extremists for that. Big government interfering with the proper parental role. Then Sarah Palin showed up at an elementary school with cookies for kids. She passed them out. She didn’t bother to ask parents if they wanted their kids to eat cookies or perhaps had allergy issues. The right wing applauded. More cookies. More cookies. More cookies.
So, a reasonable solution to the obesity problem is more donuts. More junk food. Less fruits and vegetables. The problem of obesity can be solved by increasing the availabilty of junk food. Yepper.
Drunk driving kills thousands of Americans each year. Currently we have DUI laws and put folks in prison for that. Take away licenses for driving drunk. But that has not solved the problem.
What we need is more and better access to booze while on the road. Every gas station should have a liquor license. Every driver should be given a free beer with a fill up. End DWI laws and impose DWS laws (Driving While Sober). Pull over anyone who is not weaving side to side at 50 MPH in a school zone. Fine em. Drink or don’t drive. The obvious solution to drunk driving is more access to alcohol by automobile operators. Yepper.
The opioid epidemic. Killing thousands every year. These opioids, many prescribed legally, have wreaked havoc on families and individuals. They have destroyed families. They are agents of death. So, what is the solution?
Easy. We need complete and total access to opioids . No prescription necessary. Over the counter. At the supermarket. The drug store. In our schools. Free opioids with every order of fries at Mc Donald’s. (Solving two problems at once) The only way to stop the madness is total access to opioids. The more the better. Every teacher should be armed with opioids in case of an emergency. The emergency being that Billy forgot his opioids today. Yepper.
We could go on and on. But the message is clear.
The best way to solve a problem, according to our current leadership, is to make it even bigger.
The DC v Heller decision of 2008 established 3 things, according to the majority opinion written by Justice Scalia. (See https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/2nd-amendment-and-gun-control-part-1/ for details.)
First, individual citizens, not part of a militia, have the right to own weapons.
Second, the government has the right to regulate who can have weapons.
Third, the government has the right to determine the legality of specific weapons.
So, any attempt by any member of Congress to suggest that any gun control violates the 2nd Amendment should be referrred to the Scalia opinion. Gun control is constitutional.
So, what kind of gun control , which does minimal damage to the desire (not right) of gun owners to certain weapons, are possible? Here are some possible gun control measures which Congress could take.
A mandatory background check for any gun purchaser. Using a nationwide data base that identifies felons out on parole, individuals convicted of spousal abuse, individuals convicted of any violent crime, individuals currently charged with a violent offense pending trial.
A ban on the ownership and sale of military-style assault weapons and any devices that can be used to enhance the firing capacity of weapons, including bumpstocks. (Except in licensed shooting ranges).
A ban on the sale and/or transportation of weapons across state lines.
Mandatory written and field and safety tests for anyone purchasing a weapon, including a screening for emotional and mental stability.
A ban on any sale of guns other than that of a registered gun seller. This includes the ban on trading, swap meets or other gun sales not taking place in an established, permanent location.
The registration of all weapons with the local authorities. Including the free transfer of weapons to immediate famiy members, which would be legal.
Establishment of shooting ranges for those who wish to fire military style weapons. These establishments would be able to legally rent military style weapons to shooters to be used only at the shooting ranges.
The ban on any bullet or projectile designed to explode on entering the body or designed to pierce armor.
The licensing of any gun owner, renewable every five years, to determine that the person keeps up with the skill, visual acuity, mental capacity to handle a weapon safely and understands the law relating to weapons.
Establishment of free clinics and classes to teach and train gun owners as to the proper and safe use of firearms.
A Right To Know Law which gives parents the right to know which households have guns in them. A parent could then decide for themselves if they want to expose their child to a household which has a weapon. (Many children die playing with guns each year).
A yearly weapons licensing tax to help defray the costs of gun safety programs.
A health care premium Gun Violence Tax for gun owners. This would help defray the massive costs to hospitals,police, courts, jails and the insurance industry for costs related to the care of victims and perpetrators of gun violence nationwide. Hang on to your six-shooter. The annual estimated cost of gun violence in the USA is $8,600,000,000 (billion) in direct medical care. And the overall cost of gun violence to the economy is $229,000,000,000. See references at the end of this blog for details.
I am confident that many or all of these solutions, taken as a whole, would significantly reduce both intentional and accidental gun mortality. All of these ideas are constitutional and easily implemented. I am also sure that people more astute and informed than I have even more and better solutions.
We license people to drive cars. We renew auto license plates every year or two. We tax vehicles and gas used in those vehicles. We let people know if there is a sex offender living in the neighborhood so parents can protect their children. We heavily tax tobacco to reduce usage and pay for the costs of medical care caused by tobacco. So, none of the ideas above, if applied to weapons , is radical or unusual.
Would these solutions stop ALL gun violence? Of course not. Even places with strict gun control laws have some gun violence. But the likelyhood of desth by gun in these nations is minimal compared to the USA.
In Austria you are as likely to drown in a swimming pool as be killed by a gun. In New Zealand, your chances of death by gun are the same as falling from a ladder. In Poland, the chance is the same as being killed on your bicycle. And in Japan you are just as likely to be hit by lightening as killed by a gun.
Think about that last statistic the next time you watch a thunderstorm brewing.
There is a very strange argument that is made by politicians, the NRA gun manufacturing lobby and some others concerning the 2nd Amendment and the rights entailed therein. The argument goes like this:
The Second Amendment guarantees any person’s right to own any kind of weapon.
They take the 2nd Amendment and parse it out, emphasizing some of the words and ignoring others. Kind of like when Betsy asks me to take out the garbage. Me? Take out? OK , Let’s order a pizza.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
They kind of skip the first 13 words and then start reading. Speed reading? Skimming for the general idea? Hmmmm.
The obvious intention of the founding fathers was that, in the 18th century, there would be times when the local government would need a call to arms. Maybe the injuns were coming or the Brits had decided to try to retake the village. Or perhaps the Canadians were on the march attempting to impose universal health care on our children and widows.
Hence the first 13 words. A well-regulated militia. Pretty clear. Well…regulated …militia.
Some folks, however, ignore those words. They don’t like them. The 13 words not only imply a strict government control over arms, they specify it. We may need a local militia, so you should keep a gun handy. That does not mean you can have a gun for any other reason.
Of course, if the founding fathers INTENDED that everyone should have access to a gun for any reason they had no need for those 13 words. They could have kept it much simpler, as in the 1st Amendment. Short and sweet.
So the first argument supporting the notion that anyone can have any kind of weapon for any purpose is easily shot down and understood by anyone with a modicum or more of cognitive ability.
Of course, because the Constitution is interpreted by the Supreme Court, it really does not matter what the founders were thinking. The Supreme Court decides what the words mean, not the founders.
And here we see an interesting phenomena. The conservative justices who CLAIM to be “strict constructionists” have actually changed the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. Now, I don’t mind the Court trying to keep up with modern times. I think the Supreme Court should do so. But I do find the hypocrisy of the conservatives on the Court somewhat amusing.
These same justices who claim to interpret the Constituion based on the “original” document and words of the founders tend to let this one slip by. The “originalists” suddenly found, after more than 200 years , that the founders didn’t realy mean “militia” when they wrote “militia”. The majority opinion in the Heller decision goes through more contortions than a Chinese acrobat trying to justify that one. But, they had the votes. So be it.
The Heller decision, giving all of us the individual right to own a gun states, in part:
“Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
So, the founders were simply wrong when they wrote “well-regulatedmilitia“. So much for the “strict constructionist” viewpoint.
But that’s ok. Everyone now has an individual right to own a gun. We all agree because the Supreme Court says so.
Which brings us to a second argument made by the NRA gun manufactuting industry and their employees in Congress. It goes like this.
Since I have the right to a gun, that means I have the right to ANY gun. And that means I can carry any gun anywhere I want. Therefore, no state or national government can make any laws restricting my right to own my gun or where I can wander around with it. Any government that does that is trying to take away my gun.
The obvious fallacy of that position is clear. If you want to think about it. It would mean that the only unlimited right granted to citizens by the government is the right to have a gun. All other rights have associated responsibilities and limits, but not my right to a gun. It places the 2nd Amendment in a different category than every other right.
Of course, that argument is easily refuted. Just look at the 1st Amendment. We have the right to free speech. It’s right there, in black and white. But that right is not unlimited. We have libel laws which restrain speech. We have regulations as to what words can be used on non-cable tv stations. We have slander laws. We have laws against threatening to kill others, especially political leaders. Try telling a joke about having a bomb in your backpack when you are boarding a plane and you will see how quickly your “free speech” is dealt with.
The same is true of freedom of religion. You have the freedom to worship in the church or mosque or synagogue or basement of your choice. You can pray to anything you want to pray to. Some Native American churches are even allowed to void anti-drug laws because they have a longstanding use of peyote in their rituals. But if you are an Aztec and believe in human sacrifice, that is a no-no. A fundamentalist Mormon may believe he can have numerous child wives (and some do) but that is illegal. You can believe it is your right and religious duty as the “father” of the house to beat your kids and wife. But that is not tolerated. Limitations.
So, every right has legitimate, common sense restrictions. Even in the Heller case, the most conservative of the justices, Justice Scalia, pointed out that this right is not unlimited. Specifically stating, in his majority opinion, that schools and government buildings are places where restictions may be logically imposed. Also, certain categories of people, like felons, could be legally restriced from owning guns. Further, he stated that the government has the ability to restrict certain kinds of firearms, like military weapons, as well.
So, the idea that every person has an unlimited right to any type of gun he wants does not pass muster. Even the most conservative member of the Court, Justice Scalia, recognized that, while you have an individual right to a weapon, that right is not without proper government restrictions.
In essence, the most radical arguments of the NRA gun manufacturing lobby and the extremists goes down the toilet. The only question that remains is: What are reasonable restrictions?
Another school shooting today in Florida. YAWN. 17 people, mostly kids, dead; a bunch more injured. YAWN. The shooter was known to be a problem. YAWN. The shooter used an AR-15 assault weapon. YAWN.
We now have about 1 school shooting every 2 or 3 days.
So, join me and Governor Scott of Florida. And Senator Rubio of Florida.And President Trump. And the rest of Congress.
Join me as we call for prayers. Our thoughts and condolences are with these children. And their families. Our deepest sympathy for the mothers who bore these childeren and will never see them graduate from high school. The fathers who changed their diapers and rolled around the living room floor with them. The brothers and sisters who fought with them, loved them, hated them and hugged them. Join me in prayers.
Congress and the president and all the decent people in America must join together in a moment of silence. We feel their pain. It is awful. We must all cry together.
We must all cry the crocodile tears. Doesn’t matter if it is Florida crocodiles or Connecticut crocodiles or Nevada crocodiles or South Carolina crocodiles. We all need to shed those tears.
But don’t shed too many. Save some. Because next month you will need to shed them again. Don’t cry yourself dry. You may run out of tears, but you can always pray.
The choice is clear. We can support the gun sellers, supported by the NRA. Or, we can keep our children safe with sane gun laws.
The solution is clear. We must share the pain. We must stand with the victims. We must pray.
And stand with Governor Scott who made this statement.
After the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead and dozens injured, Scott responded to questions about gun control in Florida.
“I’m not going to call a special session. The Second Amendment didn’t kill anybody,” Scott said.
Stand with Marco Rubio who just yesterday pointed out what needs to be done:
Fox News’ Pete Doocy asked Rubio if he thought it was appropriate to be discussing gun control after the events.
“It’s not, only because people don’t know how this happened,” Rubio said. “[We don’t know] who this person is, what motivated them, how did they get a hold of the weapon that they used for this attack.”
To quote Rubio again: “How did they get a hold of a weapon ???” I mean, who knows how? It’s a mystery!
So. Let us cry those crocodile tears. And let us pray. Like the governor of Florida and Congress and the president, please feel the pain. Because it makes us sad.
But oppose background checks. Oppose any ban on assault weapons. Oppose any national solution to a national issue. Stand with the NRA gun sellers. And shed those crocodile tears.
Please print and save this blog. Tape it to your refrigerator. You can read it again next month when the next school mass shooting takes place.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has dropped a BOMBSHELL. He has evidence that the FBI is running a “secret society” to destroy Mr Turmp. He has an INFORMANT who has proof of that secret society. I know this because the Senator said so on TV:
“..Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Johnson suggested bias and potential corruption at the upper echelons of the agency.
“What this is all about is further evidence of corruption — more than bias — but corruption at the highest levels of the FBI,” Johnson said.
The Republican senator said at the time he obtained his information from an informant.
“And that secret society — we have an informant talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site. There’s so much smoke here, there’s so much suspicion,” Johnson said.
Johnson confirmed to CNN Wednesday he spoke to an informant who told him about the “off-site” meetings FBI managers were holding. But he acknowledged not knowing what the meetings were about, suggesting he wanted to dig into the matter…”
So there you have it. A US Senator accusing the highest levels of the FBI of actively engaging in a criminal conspiracy. With meeting secretly in groups to undermine the administration. And he has the informant to prove it. Certainly a US Senator would not make such a charge lightly!
So, another Senator, McCaskill of Missouri asked for the evidence. After all, this is a serious charge:
“You have now made serious and damaging allegations,” McCaskill wrote. “I would assume that you would never make those kinds of allegations without serious and substantial hard evidence. If the committee has any evidence that the FBI is, as you have stated, biased and corrupt at the highest levels, I assume that evidence is strong in both quality and quantity, and extends far beyond a casual mention in a text message between two agents who were involved in personal crosstalk. And as ranking member of this committee, I deserve access to this evidence.”
Well…er…uh…no hard evidence. Well, er…no evidence of any kind.
So, 24 hours later Senator Johnson has backed down. He had no evidence. He had no informant. He just had Fox News (which never asked him for hard evidence, either). So, another “scandal” about the FBI bites the dust.
But beware. There are secret societies out there . Plots and counterplots. With nefarious intentions. You just have to connect the dots. In fact, I have been able to unearth a secret society that held secret meetings going back to the 1970s!!! This group had a number of members, and was so secret that some members did not even know each other. And also so secret that the members never even met!!! I was in the group but it was so secret that even I did not know it.
I am changing the names to protect their identities, but the plot goes like this. A guy named Ray (not his real name) went to school at MSU (not a real school). He drove around in BIG PINK, a gas guzzling massive mobile. He got a degree in liberalism. Then he disappeared from the state for many years and finally was tracked down in Alabama. Now Alabama just elected a Democrat to the Senate. So, connect the dots. Ray…PINKO…Hides out…Democrat elected in Alabama, which just happens to be where he emerges.
Then there is Jack (not his real name) . Became a pyschologist (not a real job). Disappeared from Michigan for many years. Grew a beard as a disguise (didn’t work). Tracked down to Nevada. Nevada has Las Vegas. Lots of lights in Las Vegas. That means using electricity. The electric chair is used in some states for executions. So, connect the dots. Disappearance… disguise…death penalty…psychologist. Shorten psychologist and what do you get? PSYCHO!!!
Then there is Dan (not his real name). Went to war in Vietnam. Worked (if you call it that) for the US “Postal” Service for many years. Or did he? Why did he go to Nam instead of having heel spurs? Figure it out. Writes songs. Sings songs (well, drones songs). Connect the dots. Vietnam, a COMMUNIST country. Why was he in a COMMUNIST country? Connect the dots. Communist…infiltrates the post office….what goes on in the post office? …letters…letters to the White House !!! Holy cow. A communist with access to top secret letters to the White House.
This secret society (Not Ray, Not Jack, Not Dan, Not Joe ) have never met as a group. Yet, you see the nefarious connections. It is so OBVIOUS !
I am sending this to Senator Johnson of Wisconsin. I am sure he can connect the dots. Sorry “Not Ray”, “Not Jack” and “Not Dan”. You will be getting your subpoenas forthwith. From the House on Unamerican Activities Committee. You recall? The same committee that was chaired by another distinguished senator from Wisconsin. Joe McCarthy.
This is the time of year when we think about the new year and what it will bring. My new year predictions for 2018. While a couple might be a little off, I remain confident that my overall predictions will hold true.
The Cleveland Browns football team will be allowed to leave the NFL and play against selected college teams. While they do not fair well against Southeastern Virginia Disability Institute and the Outer Waco Texas Girls Ballet School the season is not a total loss. They will end up with a 1-11 record, having eked out a 3-0 victory over the Northern Idaho School for the Blind.
Robert Mueller’s third cousin on his mother’s side, 12 year old Cynthia Woggles, will be investigated by a Congressional Committee headed by Trent Gowdy. The investigation, which will cost $ 7,000,000 and the calling of 98 witnesses, all of whom are commentators on Fox and Friends, will discover that Woggles voted for Hillary Clinton in her 6th grade mock election in 2016. (Not to be confused with the national mock election held the same year) Mr Trump will use this evidence of bias to fire the Republican Mueller. In his place Mr Trump will appoint Roy Moore to take over the investigation. Moore immediatley calls Woggles for a play date.
Major League baseball will announce that after a study of fan injuries at 6 ballparks they have discovers 14 fans who had died during the game. At first the cause of the deaths was a mystery, since none of these fans were hit by foul balls or bats. Medical examiners confirm that these deaths can be attributed to a cerebral shutdown of the inner brain, caused by intense boredom.
The US will recognize the following new capitals. Scotland. Former capital: Edinburgh. New capital: Trump International Golf Links. China. Former capital: Beijing, Forbidden City. New capital: Shanghai, Ivanka Shoe Factory. Iran. Former capital: Tehran. New capital: Jersusalem. USA. Former capital: Washington, DC. New capital: Mar-A-Lago, Florida. Congress passes a law concuring.
FEMA will announce, sometime in June, that they have devised a plan to bring power back to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has not had full electric power resumed since Hurricane Maria in September, 2017. Despite the fact that the FEMA response was the “best response ever” to a catastrophe (a close second being the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans) . The new plan calls for running an extension cord from Merida, Mexico to the island to bring power back on line to the millions of foreigners living in Puerto Rico. As long as Mexico agrees to pay for the cord.
The 1st Annual Scott Pruitt “Global Warming is a Hoax” seminar takes place in a yacht named “The Golden Dollar” off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina in July. Guest speakers include climate experts Sean Hannity, Clint Eastwood’s empty chair and the entire Duck Dynasty family. The conference is cut short when a family of polar bears swims past searching for ice.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis is caught on mike saying that he thinks “this god stuff is a bunch of BS”. Nevertheless, he speaks out against war, violence, disease, global warming and hatred. He calls on all government leaders of the world to join in peace and harmony. No one calls back.When asked what common people should do to solve these problems he answers: “I tell you, I’m all outta ideas. Reality sucks so you might as well pray to a fantasy. Gets ME through the day.”
The New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, 17-14, on February 4 in a thriller over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have 7 TDs called back by the replay officials in NY, who are nowhere near the actual location of the game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Days later it is discovered that the league officials in NY had mistakenly been watching the replays of the Bournemouth vs. Stoke City English Premier League soccer match of February 3, in which no one scored. As usual.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announces the closing of all National Parks, except for Mount Rushmore. All parks will be sold to the Koch Brothers at a deep discount and the proceeds, which are tax deductible, will be spent renovating Mount Rushmore. The faces of Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington , Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln will be sandblasted away to make room for giant head of Donald Trump, surrounded by his three wives. The monument will be renamed: Best Monument Ever. Congress concurs.
On a strict liberal vs. conservative vote the Supreme Court approves Executive Order 5,678 on the topic of voting rights. Since the court had previously ruled , under Citizens United, that money equals speech, they extend that ruling to include voting. Under the new ruling “money equals voting”, as well. Based on the principle of “one dollar equals one vote” the 2018 election will be determined by a new voting method. Every citizen must bring in their tax returns to show their gross income from wages and investments. Each dollar will count as one vote.
North Korean leader, professional golfer and all around bozo Kim Jung Un announces a new building plan. He has signed an agreement with Trump University to open up a “Kim-Donald School For Learning Stuff” in Pyongyang. The school will focus on business related seminars including: How to Get Stuff For Free; 12 Ways to Evict “Those People”; Tax Evasion 101: Avoiding Those Nasty Import Fees; and, Bankruptcy, The Real Estate Developers Best Friend. Eric Trump attends the ribbon cutting ceremony which is a disaster as none of the Korean made scissors are sharp enough to cut the paper ribbon. Eric calls the “Kim-Donald “school the “best university ever” and announces at the same time that the US will begin selling nuclear technology to Kim as a gesture of good will.
Finally. Congress votes itself a 50% pay raise for a “job well done”. The legislative branch passed a total of three bills. They were: 1. “The Amazing Trump is the Best President Ever” bill awarding the Trump Medal of MAGA to the best person in America. This year’s recipient? Donald Trump. 2. “The FBI Traitor” law. Which labels all members of the FBI, former and current, official “enemies of the people” and subject to immediate permanent detention and prosecution for doing “bad stuff”. Mueller is the first to be perp walked. 3. “Congressional Vacation Act” which allows Congress to take a vacation for a period including January 2 through December 30, with pay and expenses for fact finding travel. Mr Trump signed all three bills and praised Congress for their services… which will no longer be necessary.
Many times when I was in 2nd grade there were often various verbal conflicts among the students. Some examples might be : You’re a big dummy. Another good one: You stink. And the classic: You’re ugly and stupid.
It may seem that these rhetorical barbs are impossible to contradict. How can one defend oneself against such succinct and astute accusations? How does one fend off these clever verbal retorts?
Well, other 2nd graders were up to the task. When confronted with verbal abuse (by other students; verbal abuse by Sister Clamidia dare not be challenged) we were armed with the nuclear weapon of rhetorical excellence: I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.
OUCH. The attacker slinks off defeated. There is no response to this statement. Anything the attacker says now just ends up applying to the aggressor. The nuclear option.
Which brings me to modern politics. Politicians sometimes make a claim about an opponent. The opponent is a crook. A sexual abuser. A criminal. You know the drill. And sometimes politicians just make statements which attribute certain other behaviors to their political foes.
Sometimes these accusations and statements end up being true or partially true. Other times the accusations end up being the 2nd grade equivalent of “I’m rubber and you’re glue…”
Some examples: Michael Flynn leading the chant at the GOP national convention: Lock Her Up. Lock Her Up. All the while Flynn himself had been secretly breaking the law and taking money from the Turkish dictator, possibly money funneled to him and his son from Putin. Now, Flynn has pleaded guilty and his heading for “Lock Up”.
I’m Rubber, You’re Glue
Donald Trump: “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” March 4, 2017. Now the Mueller investigation closes in, Watergate -style, on Mr Trump. More and more evidence of the conspiracy between at least 9 members of the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russians. The firing of Comey to try to cover up the crimes. Sounds an awful lot like Nixon/Watergate.
I’m Rubber, You’re Glue
“Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia[?]” he ( Trump) asked in a message posted to Twitter. Well, the Congress and special prosecutor are looking into deals with Russia. Trump deals. Even though Trump has denied ANY deals with Russia.
“I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away,” Trump said in early January 2017 as President-elect. “We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.”
Except: “Around the time presidential candidate Donald Trump was touting his real estate dealings at a Republican primary debate, a proposal was in the works to build a Trump Tower in Russia that would have given his company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales, and control over marketing and design. And that’s not all: the deal included the opportunity to name the hotel spa after his daughter Ivanka….”
I’m Rubber, You’re Glue
There’s more. A Trump tweet about Al Franken: “The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …”
Of course, Trump himself has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And at least 13, (the number seems to keep growing) different women over the years have charged that Donald has assaulted them. As far back as 1980. And he seems to really like the Moore-age girls. ” Tasha Dixon, who competed as Miss USA Arizona—not in the teen competition—in 2001 said: “He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.” Some of the contestants in Miss Teen USA were as young as 15. “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before,” Trump allegedly said.”
I’m Rubber, You’re Glue
So , next time you hear a member of Congress say that Bob Mueller is a “crook” or we should “lock her up” or that “everybody does it”, remember the second graders at St. Mary School.
I’m rubber and you’re glue. Perhaps that should be engraved on the Capitol Building and White House.
For over 30 years I have insisted on cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I say “insisted”. It is my right as the head of the family. As a man. I decide these things. I know better than anyone else how to cook a turkey, so I take control. End of discussion. (Right, dear?)
I have a very sound theory of turkey cooking. First, you buy a turkey. Then you cook it. Simple. Common sense.
Of course some folks might look to socalled “experts” when it comes to cooking turkey, but not me. They look in cook books and on line videos and some even ask grandma. But not me. I have a theory and I am sticking to it.
Now, the cookbook “experts” will tell you to cook a turkey at 325 degrees for a certain length of time, depending on the size of the bird. So much for experts. I have been using my own theory for 30 years. Ignoring the experts.
Here’s my theory. I get a 15 pound turkey. Now, the “experts” say that you should cook a 15 pound turkey at 325 degrees for 3-3 1/2 hours. Balderdash. My common sense theory says this is a waste of time. I don’t want to wait 3 1/2 hours for a turkey. So, using common sense and math (Well, a calculator) my theory says this.
Cooking a turkey at 650 degrees will shorten the cooking time by exactly one-half. So, my turkey will be ready at 1 1/2 hours or so. No reason to wait for 3 hours. Simple. To the point. Common sense. A theory any idiot can understand.
I have been cooking Thanksgiving birds like this for 30 years and EVERY year, I mean EVERY year, the turkey ends up charred on the outside, partially cooked on the inside and a smoking mess. There is always a problem with the smoke filling the kitchen and the smoke alarm going off. I solve that easily by opening windows and disabling the smoke alarm ahead of time. Clever. The volunteer fire department is on retainer.
Why does the turkey always burn? For the first 20 years I figured it was a bad batch of turkeys. Not my fault. So I tried every turkey under the sun. I cooked each of the following , in order:
As fate would have it, every one of these turkeys ended up being defective. They all burned. They all filled my kitchen with smoke. Sad. Very sad. I thought maybe you just can’t get a decent turkey nowadays.
But then I thought. Wait. Maybe it’s the oven. So, I bought a new oven. Nope. Same problem. No matter what turkey I tried or oven I tried the end product was the same. I know that if only I had the right turkey and right oven my theory would be proven. It is just a matter of time. No amount of evidence can dissuade me from my theory.
Which brings us to the latest Tax Plan.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan had a great theory. A SPLENDID theory. Increase spending on the military. Give money to the rich by lowering taxes and they will create jobs. The economy will BOOM and unemployment will disapper. So, he put the theory into practice. George H W Bush called it “voodoo economics” and said it would not work. By 1982 the US economy had experienced a recession and unemployment had RISEN to 10.8%. The GDP declined 2.7%. Opposite of the growth expected. Still, despite the evidence, it was a good theory.
In 1990 there was another smaller recession. This time George HW Bush was president. He had run on the slogan of “No New Taxes”. A great theory. Unfortunately circumstances beyond his control led him to abandon that theory and call for “revenue increases” to stabilize spending. But he still had a good theory.
In 2001 George Bush had a theory. If we cut taxes on the wealthy they will invest in US jobs. GREAT! Wonderful theory. So, Congress cut corporate and individual taxes to stimulate the economy. And he theorized that we needed to de-regulate big business. Too many restrictions were just strangling these major corporate and financial institutions. So, de-regulate we did. Excellent theory. Of course, it would take a few years for the effects to be felt. But the theory was sound.
And the effects were the biggest recession since 1945. Growth tanked to a negative 5.1%. Unemployment rose to 10%. Big money investors with all that extra capital did not create jobs in the US. Deregulated financial institutions simply made bad loans with investors money and went bust. (Well, they didn’t go bust, they got bailed out. Another theory. Too big to fail… even when they do).
When President Obama left office unemployment was about 4%. A relatively stable rate. And there were no Obama-era recessions.So, the economy is back on track and continues to chug along. No reason to tamper with it.
BUT, we need to follow theories, not evidence. So, Congress is proposing the biggest tax breaks ever while proposing a massive increase in military spending . In 2015 the USA spent more on the military ($ 597,000,000,000 that’s billion) than the next 10 nations combined. The US spent more than the total spent by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, India, France, Germany, Japan, S Korea and Brazil…COMBINED). This is not to suggest the US does not need a strong military, but this seems a bit excessive. Spend more, take in less. Voodoo economics, anyone?
So, once again we are following a theory that has been shown to have no evidence supporting it, IF the goal is a stable , fair economic system. But the theory sounds pretty good.
For my part, I continued to use my theory to cook my Thanksgiving turkey. Despite the naysayers. OK, so it got burned again this year. No turkey for Thanksgiving. On the positive side, my wife has made a standing reservation for Thanksgiving at Hop Sing’s Chinese Restaurant. She is no theoretician. And I am developing a taste for Mu Shu Pork.
Roy Moore may or may not be elected to the US Senate tomorrow. He has been accused by multiple women of icky behavior. Of cruising malls looking for girls. Of dating teens. Whether or not this enough reason for the good people of Alabama to reject him remains to be seen.
Moore’s defenders have, rightly, pointed out that he has never been convicted of violating any woman or girl. I saw an interview (which I personally found disturbing) of Moore supporters in Alabama. A number of them saw nothing wrong with him trying to date a 14 year old girl. One guy pointed out that his grandmother was 13 when she got married and had 2 kids by the time she was 15. Others pointed out that things were different in the past (they were, but this is the present) and many Alabama moms would have been happy to have their 14 or 16 year old daughter dating an assistant DA. Others were certain that the accusers had been paid by George Soros. Moore denies all claims and says they are all liars. So be it.
Al Franken posed for a prank picture of him groping a sleeping Leeann Tweeden. When on a USO tour with this sports commentator and former top Hooters girl. The fact that she was a playboy model does not diminish any sexual assault, nor does the fact that she works for FOX. Just sayin’ . Other women have also come out and claimed that Franken touched them inappropriately. His supporters point out that he has not been charged with anything and while he denies many of the complaints he has apologized for others. He has asked for an Ethics Committee hearing. But that was not enough, so Franken, under pressure from Democratic congresswomen and congressmen, has resigned.
A Republican from Arizona wanted to pay millions to one of his female staff members to be a “surrogate” mother since he and his wife cannot have kids. Doesn’t sound so bad until you learn that his “religion” forbids artificial insemination. Had to do it the regular way. I see. He resigns.
Old John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, accused by staffers of inappropriate touching, resigns. Like it matters. The guy was old, even for Congress. If he did touch someone he couldn’t remember five minutes later. But that is another topic. He’s gone.
Another Congressman owes me $84,000 as far as I am concerned. Farenthold (Texas Republican) had the Congressional Sex Slush Fund pay $ 84,000 in hush money to a woman he assaulted. I want my money back. Oh, wait, he promises to pay it back. We shall see. My question: Why is there a Congressional Sex Slush Fund to begin with?
Which brings me around to one of my New York senators, Gillibrand . Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton by then-Governor Patterson, who had admitted to numerous extramarital affairs. This did not bother Kirsten at the time. Nor did the money and support funneled to her by the Clintons bother her. Nor does it bother me. She won an election on her own, well, maybe with a little Clinton help. Gillibrand started out as a “Blue Dog” Democrat (conservative) but has “evolved” over the years to become a leading liberal in the Senate. Evolution is a wonderful thing. I confess I voted for her in the last election.
Recently Senator Gillibrand was at the forefront of the movement by Democratic congresswomen to oust Al Franken. She called for his resignation and got it. She has also condemned former president Clinton for his dalliances and said he should have resigned from office. For having an affair. (Did I mention she took money and support from the Clintons to help her get elected?)
Now, since Gillibrand is my senator I was concerned with her motives. So, I just called her Washington DC office and asked a couple questions.
First, I asked why she has not called for President Trump to resign. After all, compared to the allegations against Mr Trump , Al Franken is an altar boy. If Franken’s unproven behavior merited a resignation, why not Trump’s much worse unproven behavior?
The response from her representative was that Gillibrand has spoken out about Mr Trump. No reason given as to why she has not called for his resignation.
My second question was based on the 2014 claims by Gillibrand that she was sexually harrassed while in the Congress by other Congressmen. She talks about 3 or 4 specific cases, yet refuses to name her harrassers. The answer given to me was that Gillibrand HAS named her harrassers but I can find no evidence of that on any website. At the time Gillibrand was challenged to name her harrassers but she refused, using this logic:
“So why didn’t she call out the men who wronged her by name? “Because then our conversation would be about the idiocy of any one individual male,” Gillibrand said. “And I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about the broader problems that are far more relevant.” For a woman who’s trying to carve out her position as a leader for women, it’s not a bad conversation to own.”
So, now Kristen has decided that the “idiocy of any one individual male”, namely Al Franken, is good enough for her. So, the “broader problem” is more important than “due process”? The end justifies the means? We keep silent about sex harrassers for the greater good?
Gillibrand is a lawyer by trade. She is a very smart person. She understands the Constitution. She understands “due process” and what that should mean. She has been in the forefront to deny that “due process” to one man, Al Franken, while protecting the identity of other sexual harrassers. Even though she claims personal knowledge of sexual harrassment in Congress by other Congressmen she refuses to “name names”, thereby aiding and abetting those who would prey on women not as psychologically strong or powerful as she. Silence is what sexual predators thrive on. And Gillibrand has been silent allowing predators to go unpunished.
Why has she been silent about some and why so aggressive at this time towards Franken? My only conclusion is that Gillibrand has seen a bandwagon and has decided to jump onto the driver’s seat. The bandwagon is a dangerous one. It says anyone accused is guilty. Case closed. No hearings. No trial. It also says that we must always believe any woman who makes a claim. Sorry, I just will not accept that.
Kirsten is not done. She wants to climb higher. She has her eyes on the Democratic nomination for president and is using the current scandals, quite selectively I might add, to propel herself into the national spotlight. How is she any different than any Fox-sponsored politician who tries to use selective evidence for political advantage? To throw red meat to a specific audience? She has shown herself to be a typical member of the elite ruling class…. say anything for political gain. I think there is a term for that: opportunistic.
To think I helped put her in office. Sad. Very sad.
Regarding the new GOP tax plan which shuffles billions of dollars from working Americans to the top one-half of one per cent.
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley told the Register. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
I am not sure if this is true so I interviewed 2 people. One is a billionaire heiress to a real estate fortune who shall remain anonymous. I shall call her Ivania. The other is a shmuck who worked in factories, sweat shops and as a teacher for over 30 years. I will call him Joe the Shmuck.
Me: Hello, Ivania. Congratulations on receiving a massive inheritance allowance and other tax breaks in the new tax bill.
Ivania: Thank you. No one deserves it more than me.
Me: So, how many jobs do you intend to create with this new found wealth ? Do you feel that you that have earned this windfall?
Ivania: Oh, yes. I have had to work very hard being born into just the right family. It is not easy being wealthy. For example, do we cater in Lobster Newberg or Filet Mignon tonight? Do we open the bottle of “Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon” or the “Boerl and Kroff Brut Rose” ? Would you have any idea which to serve? Commoners just don’t understand the intense pressure I am under.
Me: I see. Back to my question. What do you intend to do with this multi-million dollar windfall? Will you invest it in new jobs in America?
Ivania: Of course. My investment advisor has already begun adding to my investments. I have created thousands of jobs already in my tote bag and high heel shoe factories.
Me: But aren’t those factories in China? And Vietnam?
Ivania: Well, yes. But there is a trickle down effect. Eventually, as we create jobs in China and depress wages in the US, we will be able to bring back jobs to this nation I love so dearly. American commoners must be able to compete with the wages we pay in China. We hope to someday get those wages on par with each other. Right now it is those unions that prevent us from creating more good jobs in the nation I love.
Me: OK. So, you won’t be investing in the USA, is that the bottom line.
Ivania: (chuckling) I got mine. That is the bottom line. Did I mention how much I love America?
So, after this rather unsatisfying interview I found Joe the Shmuck, retired factory worker and teacher.
Me: Hello, Joe the Shmuck. Can I call you Joe?
Joe the Shmuck: I have spent my entire adult life working for a living and paying my taxes. You can call me Shmuck.
Me: OK, Shmuck. Senator Grassley has made the comment that people like you will just take any tax break and spend it on women and booze. What is your response?
Shmuck: DUH. Of course we will. He is correct.
Me: WOW! So you admit that you will spend any tax breaks on women and booze? Really?
Shmuck: I have in the past, why change now? What choice do I have?
Me: Explain to me then why you should get a tax break if you will just spend it on women and booze?
Shmuck: Look, I worked two jobs most of my life. At least 8 hours a day. Some days 12 hours or more. I have worked in factories, day labor, teaching and coaching and advising students. All for pretty meager wages. So, what do you think? I am not going to come home and have a beer? Of course I spend my money on booze. Wouldn’t you?
Me: Well, ok. but what about spending all your money on women?
Shmuck: I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful daughter. Unfortunately they are money pits. I mean, who needs more than 2 pair of underwear? Women, that’s who. Who needs to get their hair done? Women, that’s who. Not to mention quality food, clothes and thousands of other items the uses of which completely escape me.
Let’s talk about dental bills and braces, shall we? And schools class trips? And second cars? And dogs and all those expenses? And Xmas gifts? And tuition and fees?
Me: I am not sure that was what Grassley was referring to…
Shmuck: Well, anyone who has a wife and daughter (or husband and son for that mattter) knows what I am talking about. So Grassley is right. All I will do with any tax break is invest in goods and services right here in the US…wait…does that make me an investor?
Me: Sorry. Investors only invest in China. You worked . You supported your family. You drink beer. You are what we call…uh… shmuck.
“The Senate unanimously approved legislation late Thursday that institutes mandatory sexual harassment training for senators and aides — a potentially meaningful shift amid calls for overhauling Capitol Hill’s system for handling harassment complaints.”
I was able to acquire an actual audiotape of the first meeting of the sexual harrassment training for Congress. I have changed the names to protect my congressman.
From the audiotape:
Anonymous Congressman: Hey, babe, is this the place for the sex training?
9 year old girl: Hi Mister, yes, this is the place for your training.
AC: So, who is running this show?
9YO: I am . I was asked by my mommy to talk to you all today.
AC: Aren’t you a little young to teach us how to harrass women?
9YO: No, Mister. I am here to help you learn how to be good.
AC: Oh, oops. I misunderstood. The email said “sexual harrassment training”. I thought someone would teach me how to harrass my female employees and not get caught.
9YO: No, Mister. I am supposed to help you understand that sex stuff is wrong.
AC: Ouch. Boy am I embarrassed. So, what do I need to know?
9YO: Well, you should be nice to people.
AC: But what if I really want to touch a woman. You know, I really want to. I can hardly control myself. And I am the boss.
9YO: You should not touch anyone who doesn’t want to be touched. It’s not nice.
AC: OK. I never knew that ! Wow! So, if I am the boss I should not just like kiss her or grab her by her..uh.. private parts. You know, like President Trump.
9YO: No, that is wrong. That is being a bad man. You should never touch anyone who does not want to be touched.
AC: So, it would be wrong to just grab a woman? Really? I never knew that. What if I say sexy stuff to her? Like Clarence Thomas.
9YO: No. That is bad. You should not say sexy words to someone in the workplace. You should never say things to make them afraid or sad. That is bad.
AC: Wow. I never knew that. So I should not make commensts to women about having sex with me or force a women to have sex on my desk. Like Matt Lauer.
9YO: NO! That is called rape. That is a bad thing. Do not do that. That is very naughty. Don’t you understand?
AC: What if I “accidently” grab a female on her butt? I mean, what if it is an accident? Like Al Franken?
9YO: NO! You are making me mad ! No. No. No. That is wrong. Don’t touch.
AC: Well, I am trying. But I never knew that was wrong. I am learning so much today that I never knew! Let me see if I understand. I should not touch women or girls if they don’t want to be touched. I should not say sexy things to women in the workplace. I should not rape women, even if they are working for me?
9YO: Yes. Now you understand. That is called sex harrassment. That is wrong. I learned in Kindergarten that you should not touch others. Didn’t you ever go to Kindergarten? My teacher said to never touch others who do not want to be touched.
AC: OK. I get it. Thank you for this training. I never knew that it was wrong to touch or kiss or rape a woman. This training has really opened my mind.
(The 9 year old leaves the room but the tape is still running.)
AC: (talking to an aide). That girl was really HOT, wasn’t she? I was going to invite her to have dinner with me tonight at Hooters. Think that would be wrong?
End of tape.
Personal aside: The people who we elect to make our laws need to be TRAINED not to sexually harrass other human beings. Please read the previous sentence again. Then try not to cry.
Let me say this about Roy Moore. He is, in my opinion, a pedophile. He is a slug. He sees himself as an Old Testament patriarch whose gender and age allows him to do anything he wants to anyone he wants. At the same time, the people of Alabama have the right to send to the Senate anyone they want.
If the people of Alabama want an accused pedophile and a moron to represent them, so be it. If he committed a crime in Alabama that is for Alabama to determine. Look at the man who he is trying to replace. Jeff Sessions. A man who actively prosecuted black citizens for registering other black citizens to vote. The “high standards” of the Senate dd not see a problem with that. The Senateand House have been seating bigots and racists for over a century and it seems not to violate any ethical standards.
How many of these giants of the Senate have voted over and over to take away heath care for the working poor? How many times have they voted to end the ACA? How many times have these morally superior men noto voted t raise the minimum wage for those “working Americans” they love to talk about. How many of these fine gentlemen have voted to give massive breaks to the wealthy and screw the poor? How many of these fine representatives have supported voter suppression laws?
I would suggest that there is NO ONE who is morally repugnant enough to be excluded from the Senate or the House . And the record supports me.
I could care less if a senator wants to bang a dog. In some states that may be a requirement. Who knows?
That said, let’s look at a number of these sexual accusations and how they played out over the years.
Did Moore commit sex crimes? Seems so. He was in his thirties and went after very young girls. Pedophilia? His supporters seem to use the Bible as some justification for his proclivities. I think the guy is just sick and needs treatment. He seems to have along history of this kind of behavior.
Al Franken has just been “outed” as an abuser as well. He forced himself on a woman and kissed her against her will. He took a fraternity-style photo of himself pretending to grope her while she slept. Is this sexual assault? Was this a one time thing ? A jackass trying to be funny? Franken apologized and said he was ashamed. Will other women come forward? If the people of Minnesota want a former comedian who has apologized for his actions to represent them, so be it.
Bill Clinton had consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky in the White House. She was 22 years old. Is a 22-year-old woman an adult who can make those decisions about who to have sex with or not? Is it crass and icky for an old man to use his position of power and have sex with someone who technically works for him (although in a non paid position). Is it illegal or just smelly? Does it make him unworthy to hold the office of president?
Then we come to the Abuser-in-Chief himself. A man who has bragged repeatedly about sexually abusing women. He has said he forced himself on women. Kissed them when he wanted. Grabbed them by the pussy. He has been found guilty of discrimination in housing against black renters. He has been found guilty of ripping off young people at his phony Trump University and forced to pay $ 25,000,000 in damages. And he has been accused by multiple women and girls of sexual misconduct, including forcible kissing and groping.
How can Mitch McConnell or anyone member of the government DARE claim that Judge Moore or Al Franken or Bojo the One-Eyed Pedophile is not fit for government “service”.The American people have spoken. Well, at least 60,000,000 have spoken.
They spoke in November of 2016 and said unequivocally that ANY PERSON, no matter how low their moral compass is suited to participate at the highest levels of government. No matter what kind of sluggish behavior a human being can engage in, it was evidently not sluggish enough to prevent 60,000,000 from voting for him.
The Congress is not the synod of bishops or the college of cardinals of the Catholic Church. It is not a moral or religious organization. It is a bunch of men and some women who want to tell the rest of us what to do. They want to make laws. They are fallible human beings who should not be held to any standard other than how they vote on issues.
I do not support sex abuse in any form, but let’s be real. The “standards” of government behavior hardly eleimnate anyone from serving in Congress.
(Please excuse editing errors. For some reason I cannot control my editor today!)