Category Archives: Constitution

Lies Liberals Tell, Part 7

Lie#7: It Can’t Happen Here

Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban

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.

Until now.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Filed under Congress, Constitution, GOP, government, liberals, neoconservatives, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, SCOTUS, Senate, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Lies Liberal Tell, Part 6

Lies Liberals Tell, Part 6

Copyright Joseph Urban 2017,2018,2019

Lie # 6. Inevitability of Progress.

One of the lies liberals tell themselves is that we always move forward toward a better, more tolerant society. Two steps forward, one step backward. But always moving forward in the end.

Yet, the facts speak otherwise. For example, average worker incomes, adjusted for inflation, have  barely budged since the 1960s. And for lower wage workers the increases have sometimes not kept pace with inflation. In the 1970s tuition costs were approximately 7% of the median male income. By 2015 the tuition costs were 25% of the median male income.

What does this mean? A higher education is the path for the working poor to a better life. Always has been. That is how we train teachers, scientists, engineers, etc. As tuition rises, relative to income, it does two things. First, it prevents many children of the working poor to achieve a higher  education and therefore better paying careers. Second, for those who do borrow (the only way to finance the education) they start their adult life burdened with massive debt. The opposite of progress.

Take the healthcare system. Since the time of FDR we have known we need some permanent health care solution for everyone. FDR could not get it done, though he tried. Along came Medicare and Medicaid. Slow progress that guaranteed the poorest of the poor and the elderly would have access to basic care. But not the younger working poor. They were left out. Until the ACA. Which is now under attack and being cut slowly but surely. The opposite of progress.

We can look at the end of the EPA, the Department of Education, the National Parks, the Consumer Protection Agency. All being gutted . All under the control of people who want to turn back the clock on basic human progress.  Major steps backward.

We see the same thing with the unrelenting attacks on women’s basic health services. The Supreme Court rules that a company (Hobby Lobby) can deny basic coverage to their employees if that coverage somehow does not fit the beliefs of the owners of the company. The mentality that the business owner owns not only your labor, but your health care. The Supreme Court majority, which calls itself “strict constructionists” finds in the Constitution the right of a corporation to have “religious beliefs”. And to impose those beliefs on its workers. Of course, there is not a single mention of the term “corporation” in the Constitution.  The Bill of Rights, envisioned to protect individual citizens from the government, is turned on its head and used to deprive citizens of rights.

We see that new voter suppression techniques are being used to deny some people the franchise. In 2019 the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives proposed their first bill, HR 1. That bill would guarantee people the right to vote and provide resources for  that purpose. The conservative in charge of the Senate refused to bring it to a vote . He called it a “power grab” by the Democrats. The American people voting, according to the far right, is a liberal “power grab”. Progress is a power grab. Democracy is a “power grab”.

Liberals need to learn that progress is not automatic or inevitable. The reactionary forces are strong and currently hold power. And they are stripping the safeguards that took so long to develop. In the end, they want to privatize and deregulate everything.

Progress is not inevitable. 

 

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Lies Liberals Tell, Part 4

Lies Liberal Tell, Part 4 of 7

Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban

Lie # 4: People Believe in Basic Fairness

Liberals tend to believe in fairness. We should treat others fairly. Justice systems should be fair and honest. Above all, elections should be fair. So the real will of the people can be expressed. So the voice of the people can be reflected in the legal  system. If systems are fair, we believe, all will eventually be right with the world. And we expect other Americans to feel the same way.

We are wrong. As the last 25 years have demonstrated, the right wing sees “fairness” as an obsolete concept. No longer part of our political life. The goal of the right wing is simple. Win. Win any election by any means necessary. Win by lying. Win by cheating. Win by suppressing votes. Win. Win. Win.

Of course, this is hardly new in American politics. It is seen most clearly in the election process. After all, the Jim Crow voting laws south of the Mason-Dixon line effectively disenfranchised American blacks for almost one hundred years. The Voting Rights Act passed in the 1960s finally  (in theory) gave blacks the same voting rights as white Americans. Basic fairness. A liberal ideal.

Then, the right wing majority on the US Supreme Court, in Shelby County vs. Holder,  gutted the Voting Rights Act. It was no longer needed. The ultra-right wing argued that  no longer did certain states intentionally seek to disenfranchise black voters. So the Court ruled. Basic fairness had been achieved. What happened next?

Two HOURS. Two HOURS after the decision was released by the SCOTUS the Texas Attorney General (now Governor) Abbott announced that a new voter ID law would go into effect immediately. Alabama followed suit. Within two months North Carolina had instituted new voter restrictions. So did Mississippi. In Florida, GOP governor Rick Scott ordered the purge from voter rolls (which failed). But Florida did move a voting center (used primarily by blacks) to a new site without access to public transportation.   South Carolina instituted new voter restrictions.

Jim Crow has returned. Fairness? Not an issue. Win by suppressing Democratic votes. Win by undermining the very concept of fair elections.

Of course, even before the gutting of voting rights there were ways to prevent  fair elections. Nothing was more clear than in the 2000 Florida election. When the governor, who happened to be the brother of a candidate for  president hired a company to purge the voting rolls. Over half of those purged were African-Americans. Who voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. And when the private company itself pointed out that , based on the state requirements, it would be purging thousands of voters who were legally entitled to vote, Governor Jeb Bush’s staff told the company to purge them anyway.  We do not know how many of these thousands of black Americans showed up at the polls and were turned away with no recourse. The election was handed to George Bush when the SCOTUS refused to allow Florida to recount its votes. It worked.

In North Carolina there was an organized effort, which succeeded, in voter fraud. A GOP candidate actually hired a man who had a history of illegal activities. He paid relatives and others to collect absentee ballots and mark  those ballots with the GOP candidate. Even after this corruption was revealed and exposed, the North Carolina GOP insists that the fraudulent election be upheld. Voter fraud is okay.

Beyond voting, liberals tend to believe the lie that the vast majority of our fellow citizens believe in fairness in the justice system. But the fact is that our justice system is not designed to produce “fair” results. It is designed to “win” cases. Whether for the state  (prosecution) or the individual (defense). Justice is not relevant. It is no accident that those who can afford to hire the best lawyers win. We see a case in Texas where a defense attorney SLEEPS during the trial, but the appeals court lets a conviction stand claiming the defendant still had “adequate representation”. (Decision finally overturned by the Fifth Circuit) .Those who can afford to stand up to the state with a competent legal team need not worry about justice.

Public defenders, with very limited budgets, seldom prevail. So, we see young adults without resources convicted of petty crimes and given criminal records while white collar criminals steal millions and walk away. Or make “restitution” and are forgiven. So, this lack of fairness has created a new money making industry, private prisons. A funneling of poor , overwhelmingly minority, Americans  from the poorest neighborhoods into the private prisons, all for profit.

Fairness, a liberal lie. Liberals still cling to the ideal, which is fine.  But we need to accept the fact that in government, in voting rights and in the court system “fairness” is a commodity in short supply. We also need to accept the fact that many of our fellow citizens think this is just fine. They do not see “fairness” as a legitimate goal of government. Win at any cost is their mantra.

 

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Filed under Constitution, death penalty, Elections, government, jeb bush, Politics, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Lies Liberals Tell, Part 3

Lies Liberal Tell, Part 3 of 7

Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban

Lie # 3:  These People Mean Well

Liberals tend to be trusting. No doubt. If you want to cheat someone, find a liberal. So, even when it comes to political opponents liberals tend to think the best of people. We tend to believe that people who have honest disagreements with us nevertheless have the best interests of the nation at heart.

We are wrong. It is a liberal lie we tell ourselves. And because of that lie we are not tough enough in dealing with people who are just plain nasty. The far right understands this weakness much better than we do. Because we think the best of people we accept the nastiness and political criminal class as just folks who have  a different worldview but have essentially the same goals. A better society. We are wrong.

Take a look at our healthcare system. When FDR was president he tried to institute a national health care system that would help all Americans achieve some level  of insurance. He failed. As did Bill Clinton. It was only in the 21st century that the US finally came close to a system that provided some coverage for almost all Americans.

This happened only because for a brief 2 year period the Democrats, liberals and moderate, held slim majorities in Congress and were able to pass a complex Affordable Care Act. Despite being based on the Republican plan in Massachusetts developed by Mitt Romney and despite including a number of GOP ideas, some from the Heritage Foundation, not a single member of the Republican, right wing party voted to pass this law.

The law was not a government “takeover” of healthcare. It was simply an extension of Medicare to poor working families and a clearinghouse in which citizens could compare private health insurance plans in their states. And it provided help for those who, in the past, could not afford decent health insurance. Over 20,000,000 Americans benefited.

What has been the right wing response to this plan. Vote after vote after vote to repeal it. With nothing in place to help the 20,000,000 who would lose insurance for their families. No concern for people with pre-existing conditions who could not get insurance in the past. No concern for the working poor who, because of the conservative Republican Congress refusals to tie minimum wage increases to inflation, are not able to afford basic medical care. The right wing response is not a solution to any problem, it is simply nasty.

Then we have the GOP led state governments. Even though the federal government agreed to pick up the tab for the working poor in states like Georgia and Mississippi so the working poor could get on Medicaid, the state governments refused. They intentionally denied health care to their own citizens. Health care that they could have gotten with no increase in state budgets. Just plain nasty.

Seventeen states, all of them with GOP governors, rejected expanding health care for their own working poor.  Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. In three more states the governor actually wanted to expand Medicaid, but the GOP controlled legislatures rejected their own governor. Those states would be North Carolina, Utah and Virginia. And one state, Louisiana, implemented the plan over the objection of the GOP governor, Bobby Jindal.

So, millions of the working poor and their families still do not have adequate health insurance for no other reason than the governors and legislatures of those states did not like Mr Obama. Nastiness, plain and simple. These are not people on welfare. People gaming the system. These are people working for wages so low they cannot provide their children and families with basic health insurance.

We can look at other areas like raising the minimum wage and see the same mentality.

Liberals have to stop accepting the lie that “these people mean well”. They don’t . These right wing leaders of state governments do not mean well. The majority leader of the Senate does not “mean well”. The so-called “Freedom Caucus” does not “mean well”. They systematically and knowingly keep their own citizens from acquiring basic medical coverage. They reject minimum wage proposals that would give hard working citizens a few more bucks in their pocket. They cut social service funding to those who need birth control or medicine or decent housing or better schools..

The liberal lie that “these people mean well” is naive. We attribute to these folks a level of decency that they have never exhibited. We simply cannot make ourselves believe that these government “leaders” at the state and national level are intentionally nasty. They are . Their actions speak for their intentions.  No matter how they try to rationalize their actions it is clear. They do not care about their fellow citizens. At least not the ones who we identify as the working poor.

It is time for liberals to accept the fact. Many of our fellow citizens are just plain nasty. They do NOT mean well. They do not see themselves as constitutionally responsible for the “common welfare”. They control and use government to feather their own nests and provide for their own economic well being. The working poor be damned.

 

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Lies Liberals Tell, Part 1

Lies Liberals Tell  (Confessions of a Born-Again Liberal)

Copyright 2017,2018,2019 Joseph Urban

Part 1 of a 7 part series.

The elevation of Donald Trump to the position of most powerful human being on the planet Earth should make all of us re-examine our most basic beliefs about mankind. Of course, Donald Trump did not win the majority of votes. (Latest count shows him losing by almost 3,000,000 votes) So his philosophy and beliefs do not reflect the values of most Americans. Nevertheless, he was able to garner enough votes in enough states to win the electoral college majority. So, while he is a “minority” president, the mere fact that he was even close in the popular vote this election gives us pause and causes us to reconsider where we stand as liberals. Furthermore, the fact that he exercises immense power with little or no regard to the desires of the majority must make us more than a little worried.

As a lifelong liberal I have had a number of core beliefs challenged by this development.  Perhaps liberals have been lying to themselves about America and what it stands for. Perhaps we need to dispose of illusions and lies we have been telling ourselves. In this short 7 part series  I will discuss some of the beliefs, which have turned out to be lies, that liberals have held for years. Things we thought were true. We have been dead wrong.

I am not suggesting that we abandon these ideas and beliefs. But we need to accept the reality that significant minorities of our population do not hold the same core beliefs that we do. We can no longer take for granted that most Americans share these core values and beliefs. In order to go forward in a practical way, we need to accept the reality that we have been, in large part, lying to ourselves about a significant number of  citizens of The United States.

Lies are organized into the following categories.

  1. Society
  2. Reason
  3. Mean Well
  4. Fairness
  5. Responsibility
  6. Inevitability of Progress
  7. It Can’t Happen Here

Lie # 1: We are all in this together in society.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Those are the first words of the US Constitution. “We”. Not “I”. We . We will establish a government that supports society. Remember that after the Revolutionary War the 13 colonies formed a union. The Articles of Confederation knit together the colonies in a loose union based on the interests of individual states. The United States , in the sense that we know it today, was not an easy sell. (See the Federalist Papers for a thorough discussion of the issues).

To form a more perfect union. The founding fathers discovered that a loose union would not last. It would either break apart into sectionalism or completely dissolve as each state demanded sovereignty and independence. The result would be a weakened group of states. Easy prey for European nations seeking dominance.  The weakness would be an invitation to chaos and interference by foreign powers.

The solution was to develop a document that guaranteed some unity among the diverse parts of states along the eastern seaboard. The Preamble to the Constitution establishes the philosophical framework for that unity. An attempt to pull together  the north and south, the rural and urban, the large states and small ones, into a cohesive society. Only by uniting the divergent elements into a new society could unity be secured.

So, we have, at the very beginnings of the United States, the fundamental understanding that “society” was the key to success. And how do we attempt to build this new society? By establishing the purposes of government. Clearly, these purposes were to unite , not divide. The divisions were already there. Clear. The need was to superimpose on those divisions a system that would  lead to national unity.

Establishing justice. A liberal idea, that justice is the key to any acceptance of a new system. People should be treated fairly and justly. For society to function people need to accept that they will be treated fairly. To do otherwise leads to dissolution or revolution. After all, the Revolutionary War was fought because a large segment of the population felt that British tax laws were unjust.

Promote the general welfare. The idea that government should be active, not passive, in developing plans and assistance to benefit society. Government has been established to facilitate what is good for people and society in general.  So we see in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution a laundry list of practical steps Congress should take to promote the general welfare. Among them are such things as coining money and regulating trade. Building roads for the public. Establishing post offices.  Doing whatever is needed to promote science and “useful arts” by securing patent rights. To raise money and pay debts as needed for the military and general welfare.

We see an active national government. One that does not sit back. One that actively pursues, through taxation and other legal remedies, the general welfare of society. A government involved in people’s lives in order to help make those lives better and fuller. A government, by its very nature, designed to benefit its citizens individually and collectively .

This basic concept, that the US Constitution is established, in part, to provide for a just and good society, was at the core of the Constitution. It has also been a core belief of liberalism. Because, the fact is, the designers of the Constitution were extremely liberal for their time. While they were still acting in ways that we would consider reactionary today, but that the overall sense of the document is certainly liberal at its core. A new type of government. Designed to assist the people and develop society, as opposed to the old way of thinking that government should serve the elites at the expense of the peasantry.

Don’t all Americans agree with this fundamental truth? This is the first liberal lie we tell ourselves.

American liberals tend to accept the idea that the proper role of government is to assist and support society. That includes society’s weakest members as well as the most fortunate ones.

However, the emergence of the “new right” under Ronald Reagan and continuing through the Bushes and Trump puts that belief to the test.  John F Kennedy, in his inaugural address said: …”Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country…” (society). Ronald Reagan replied in his first inaugural address: “…government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”.

Reagan and those who  follow his philosophy turn the Preamble to the US Constitution on its head. Government, they believe, is not supposed to “promote the general welfare” Quite the opposite. Government should promote the elites and let society devolve into a dog-eat-dog world. Greed is good. Regulation is evil. Society exists only as a battleground of self-interest and self-promotion, not as a cooperative venture where all of us have a stake and where all people can participate fully. Some must lose big time so others can win big time.

Liberals need to recognize that the seductive “me-first” ideology has taken hold of a very significant portion of people in America. They have been propagandized into accepting the notion, which is at odds with the Preamble, that they should reject idea of the “common good”. That the “common good”  is seen as equivalent to communism or Marxism. This distorted notion of the role of government has taken hold and forms the basis for the “new right”. They incorrectly assume that any “public good” must inevitably lead to some kind of communistic equality. They are blind to the Constitutional mandate to promote the general  welfare.

So, liberals need to recognize that millions of Americans no longer hold to the founding fathers’ core belief. Of course, to liberals the contradiction is glaring.

For example, the states that consistently vote for the “less government”,  new right, largely Republican candidates are the very states that benefit most from the federal treasury. These “welfare states” take much more from the federal government than they send to Washington, DC in taxes. While they condescendingly refer to others as “takers” they themselves have not paid their own way in years, if ever.

Nevertheless, liberals need to deal with the reality. Millions of Americans no longer support a key tenet of the Constitution, that government has a significant role in maintaining a just society and is responsible for promoting a good society.

 

 

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Why Mueller Must Go

Before the New Year Mueller must be fired.

Here is why. So far, even with all the “redacted” sections of the plea deals with Cohen , Manafort and Flynn, we see a lot of evidence. Also, various dependable news sources, the New York Times, Washington Post, McClatchy, Mother Jones and the Rolling Stone have all run plenty of stories with evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump associates.

So, the noose is tightening around Mr Trump and his family. Here are some of the strands in the noose.

1. Firing the head of the FBI who refused to drop the investigation of Flynn for criminal activities. Flynn subsequently pleaded guilty to crimes. He is now cooperating with the investigation. He knows a lot.

2. The Trump Tower NYC meeting between Putin agents and the highest levels of the Trump campaign. First, according to Trump, it never happened. Then it happened but it was about “adoptions”. Now, we know it happened and was about coordination with Russia and “dirt” on Clinton. (The “dirt” never existed).

3. Michael Cohen pleading guilty to a variety of illegal activities, including campaign finance fraud. He did this, according to his under oath plea, at the direction of Mr Trump. Mr Trump first denied any knowledge. Then said he may have known, but it was not his money. Then said it was his money but nothing was wrong with it. So, why did Cohen plead guilty to a crime that, according to Mr Trump, does not exist?

4.The connections between Jared Kushner and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia bailed out Kushner on his debt ridden building in NYC, while Kushner was working in the White House. Now, the US has a massive arms deal with the Saudis and is refusing to condemn the murder of Kashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was living in the US. Even though the CIA maintains that the Saudis killed him.

5. The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent at Trump properties by foreign governments while he is in the White House. A violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

6. The connections between the NRA and the Russian government, via Maria Butina, in the moving of millions of dollars in campaign funds to support the Trump campaign. The NRA spent a record $30,000,000 supporting the Trump election effort, much of it untraceable until now. Did the typical, honest member of the NRA know it was working in cahoots with the Russians? Nope.

7. The Trump organization money laundering of Russian money through their hotels , not only in the US, but in Scotland and possibly other countries. Trumps’ kid bragged about getting Russian money when US banks refused to lend money to the Trump family . (Why not? Too many bad deals where the lenders were screwed). Trump’s tax returns, which he refused to release not only before the election but even today, hold the key.

8. And, last but not least, all the other stuff Mueller has on the Trump kids and Trump organization. Information we will learn about when Mueller makes his final report.

So, Mueller must be fired. The partial, fragmentary evidence is already overwhelming. Mueller must be fired while the GOP still controls the government. Once the Democrats take over in the House of Representatives it will be too late for Trump. The truth will all come out. In detail.

Expect a 2 AM tweet sometime soon:

“Fake Mueller WICH HUNT must END. For guud of the cuntry. Mueeller must go. NO COLLISION! President found NOT GUILTY !!!! Muller…Your FIRED ! (@ real Donald Trump).”

 

 

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Have We Ever Met?

As soon as the Democrats whupped Donald Trump in the midterms he immediately fired Jeff Sessions, his Attorney General.

Jeff Sessions was lockstep in implementing all of Trump’s policies. He refused to act on any voter suppression cases. He refused to enforce the Voting Rights Act. He refused to enforce environmental laws. A Trumpster all the way.

Jeff Sessions was the first US Senator to endorse Trump. He was the first Senator to wear that goofy hat. Like Trump, he has a long history of racial discrimination. Birds of a feather.

BUT, following the required law, Sessions had to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe. Because he, himself, had met with Russians and later lied about it. This made Trump mad. Not the meeting part. Not the lying part. The recusal part.

So, another in a long line of Trump sycophants is thrown under the bus. Or out the window of Trump Tower. Into the Trump fecal pond. So be it.

Now, Trump has appointed a new acting Attorney General (emphasis on “acting”). A Fox news guy who has long held that the Supreme Court is not allowed to interfere with the president. That the president is above the law.

OK. So he is a Trump stooge. What else is new?

Well, according to Trump this guy is a great man. People in the White House say he is a man who Trump has met with a number of times. A man highly respected. They get along real good. Or, do they ? Uh…wait a minute.

Well, Trump, who just appointed this totally unqualified weight lifter to become the HIGHEST attorney in the land  NOW claims he doesn’t even know the guy.

“Who are you? Do I know you? Wanna be Attorney General? Okey dokey, you got the job. Gotta run. ”

He just appointed this complete stranger to the leadership of the Department of Justice.

According to the NY Times ..the “FAILING” NY Times….

“Mr. Whitaker, who now oversees the investigation, has visited the Oval Office several times and is said to have an easy chemistry with the president, according to people familiar with the relationship.

“I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left Washington for a weekend trip to Paris. “Matt Whitaker is a very highly respected man.””

Appointing someone he does not even know. Hmmm. If it were true it just might be a step in the right direction.

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Sore Winners, Sore Whiners

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.

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Brett Kavanaugh, An Effort to Conceal

Brett Kavanaugh is a man of many faces. Many lives. Many lies. Many reincarnations.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who demanded the Starr inquiry go after Bill Clinton’s sex life. He wanted every lurid detail made public. Nothing should be out of bounds. The people had the right to know.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who worked in the Republican Party in the hard fought, controversial 2000 presidential election. He was a state’s rights conservative. He believed in the power and laws of the state governments. Then helped Mr Bush in his court case that ended the election without a recount of the Florida votes. Even though, BY FLORIDA LAW, a recount was mandated. Disregarding the laws of the state of Florida. So much for “state’s rights”.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who was subsequently rewarded, by placing him on the White House staff. He vetted and advised the president on all judicial appointments. He was Mr Bush’s conservative aide. He was central to the decision making process. Did he advise on the Iraq invasion? On torture? On the stolen Democratic documents? He won’t say. We don’t know. The Senate is not allowed to know. Why?  Because 90% of his written work has been withheld from the public and from the Senate.

There was the Brett Kavanaugh who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Calm. Intelligent. Respectful. Politely evading answers to even even the most basic questions. Cool Hand Brett. A man who, by his calm temperament, demonstrated the fair mindedness expected of a jurist. A serious student of the law. No time for foolishness. A man for the ages.

And then Dr Ford happened.

She described how a young Brett Kavanaugh and a buddy tried to rape her when she was a 15 year old girl. And laughed at her. Others came forward to talk about his drunkenness and how he behaved when he had too many beers. How he became belligerent when drunk. Mean, Aggressive.

Then another Brett Kavanaugh showed up. Angry. Emotionally unbalanced. Distraught. Accusatory. Sarcastic. Snarky. Belligerent. Mean. Aggressive.

The mask was off. The real Brett Kavanaugh emerged. A man who believed, in all his heart, that it was his birthright to be appointed to the Supreme Court. A man who answered simple, direct questions with angry, hostile sarcasm. A man whose temperament demonstrated not the calmness of a judge, but the arrogance and nastiness of a political hack. A man of character whose character showed through loud and clear, but especially loud.

So, now we are left with a further investigation by the FBI . Maybe something new will be discovered, maybe not. In either case, we have seen the real  Brett Kavanaugh beneath the mask. And it ain’t a pretty sight.

But perhaps we should all take a deep breath, stop, and remember these words written in a memo at a different time and place concerning a different political/sexual scandal.

“He has lied to his aides.”

“He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you” — meaning Mr. Starr — “and this office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush.”

“It may not be our job to impose sanctions on him, but it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear — piece by painful piece,” 

“Aren’t we failing to fulfill our duty to the American people if we willingly ‘conspire’ with the president in an effort to conceal the true nature of his acts?”

Perhaps we should heed the words of the author while we contemplate the fate of Brett Kavanaugh. After all, those are the words of Brett Kavanaugh in one of his previous lives, as a member of Ken Starr’s prosecution team.

As Mr Kavanaugh said to the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. “What goes around comes around”.

 

 

http://time.com/5386461/brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-hearings-bush/

https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/brett-kavanaugh-florida-ties-elian-2000-vote-recount-terri-schiavo/KW4h9QMoAZd7mogcLv7AdP/

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Filed under abortion, Clinton, Conservatives, Constitution, Democrat, GOP, liberals, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States, US

My Job Interview

I have not blogged in awhile because I have been preparing for my job interview. I am seeking a permanent position, with a guaranteed life long appointment. This job should come with good benefits and be completely independent of any other authority. I don’t do well with bosses.

As fate would have it, just such a plumb job came open this year. It has something to do with the government. It is an opening on something called a “SCOTUS”. A SCOTUS, as I best understand it, is a bunch of people who decide what rights you and I have. They have this job for life. Can’t be fired.

So, I said to myself, “Sounds good. Short hours. And I have opinions. So, what the hell”.

Well, the interview with some guy named Grassley went like this.

Grassley: So, Mr Urban, you want to be on the Supreme Court.

Me: The Supre…oh, wow…so that is what SCOTUS stands for. Who would have guessed. ..Oh, yessir, I do.

Grassley: And your qualifications are ?

Me: Well, I have opinions. Good opinions. Thoughtful opinions.

Grassley: Do you have a resume? Or any written materials?

Me: Oh, of course. I have an extensive resume. 10 pages long. And I have been authoring a blog for years. Many years. Hundreds of blog posts.

Grassley: OK. So, can you give me this information?

ME; Well, I can give you one page of my 10 page resume. The other 9 pages you don’t need to see. I will give you the one page that I think is best for you to consider. Forget the other 9. Not important. Only 1 is important. I keep the other 9 under the title of “confidential”.

Grassley: Oh. I see. Well. If you say they are confidential then who am I to pry. After all, this job only lasts a lifetime. And it only entails you making decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people for the next…oh…maybe 50 years or so. So, I guess 1 page out of your 10 page resume will be fine. Now, what else do you have?

Me: Well, I have a blog. I have been writing it since 2011 or 2012. So, I have a whole lot of ideas. My philosophy of government is pretty much laid out over the course of these years.

Grassley: Great. That will be helpful. So, can you provide me with this blog?

Me: Certainly. Although, to be fair, some of it is not so good. So, I have labeled some of it “Top Secret”. Not that I am hiding anything, just a matter of privacy. What I will do is hand pick 10% of my blog posts and send them to you. That should give you a pretty good idea of where I stand. You don’t need to read everything I write, it might distort.

Grassley: Well, what if I look at all of them and decide what is important and what is not? Would that be ok? I mean, we do need to know your entire thoughtful philosophy, not just part of it.

Me: Nope. That does not work for me. I’ll decide what to share with you and what not to share. Then you can make your decision on this lifetime appointment. After all, it’s my blog. You are lucky I am sharing anything with you.

Grassley: Is see, Mr  Urban. So, you refuse to hand over 90% of your resume. And you refuse to hand over 90% of the documents outlining and describing your political philosophy. And you want a lifetime appointment to the SCOTUS, on  which will decide the fate of millions of people. Is that right?

Me: You got it, dude.

Grassley: OK. Thanks for coming in. We’ll be in touch

Oddly, they never called me back. Kind of pisses me off because they gave the same deal I wanted to this guy Kavanaugh.

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Filed under Constitution, government, Politics, SCOTUS, Society, Supreme Court, Trump, United States

Happy 4th of July, Comrades

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:

  • Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)
  • Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)…”

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/7/5/1778318/-What-does-Putin-have-on-eight-GOP-lawmakers-who-fled-America-for-Moscow-on-July-4

Happy 4th of July, Comrades.

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D-Day: No one Died For the Flag

Today is the 74th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

On June 6, 1944 the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy.  Thousands died. None of them died for the flag. They died fighting totalitarianism. They died fighting Hitler. Eventually the Allied Forces overcame the Nazis and won the war.

My uncle died in that war. On his fourth mission bombing Germany. He was the only son of an immigrant. He was shot down on the way back to base after a bombing mission over Berlin. He died fighting against totalitarianism. He did not die for the flag.

Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Wars fought for various reasons. Some legitimate, some not. Thousands of Americans died. Some died because they believed were protecting America. Some died because they were drafted and had no choice.  Not a single one died for the flag.

When the Heel Spur Patriot tries to equate patriotism with the flag he is confusing symbols with reality.

Yes, the flag CAN represent the ideals of the USA. It CAN represent freedom, honor, fairness, justice and all those other positive values we try to aspire to.

It can also represent slavery, discrimination, lynching, voter suppression , police brutality and a number of other values we SHOULD reject.

It is in the eye of the beholder.

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” wrote Samuel Johnson in 1775.

Today we have a scoundrel in the White House. A scoundrel who clothes himself in the flag of a country that he would never defend himself. A Heel Spur Patriot.

So, no matter how many times the Heel Spur Patriot tries to sing the National Anthem or God Bless America. No matter how often he respectfully places his hand over his heart and nods solemnly while the anthem plays.  No matter how he tries to equate REAL military service with jingoistic flag waving.

The fact remains. Many Americans have died in wars. Many died to fight totalitarianism. Many died to protect the right to protest. To exercise your First Amendment rights. To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

But no one ever died for the flag.

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L’etat, c’est moi

The Sun King, Louis XIV of France is credited with saying: “I am the state.” But he said it in French, of course. Now, he probably didn’t say it. Just an example of FAKE NEWS. But he acted like someone who would say something like that ,so….

I am the state. I am above the law. I am the law. Richard Nixon said something similar in his interview with David Frost. “If the president does it that means it is not illegal”. Nixon was referring to any action a POTUS might take in the national interest.

Now we have Donald Trump making the same claims of absolute power.  This week Trump followed up the letter his legal team sent to Mueller in January.

Trump and his attorneys claim that he cannot be indicted. Even if he kills someone. That claim is supported by Rudy Giuliani. He is above the law. He cannot be held accountable by any justice system. Taken to its (il)logical conclusion that means he can do anything he wants with impunity.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Trump and his lawyers claim that Mr Trump can end any investigation for any reason. He can stop the FBI from investigating any possible terror attack. He can stop the FBI from investigating organized crime. He can stop the FBI from investigating his own family business practices. He can shut down the FBI permanently and allow them to investigate NOTHING. According to this legal theory.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Trump and his lawyers claim he can pardon anyone for any reason. That he can even pardon himself.  While the Justice Department handed down a decision that a president cannot pardon himself Trump ignores it. That decision, of course, was requested by Richard Nixon. The DOJ said: No. Your pardon power does not extend to your own crimes. Three days later Nixon resigned. Trump will not. He is above the law. He is the law.

L’etat, c’est moi.

Louis the XIV fired his advisers. He said he alone would run the government. He didn’t need advice. Only he, under the will of god, could rule and make decisions.

He moved the French capital from Paris to Mar-a-Largo…er, I mean to a different location. He set himself up in the opulent Palace at Versailles. A massive wonderful building. Truly awesome. I have seen it. He brought the nobles under his power. He brought them to Versailles to play (golf?). And pay for the privilege. He catered to the elites, while intimidating them to kowtow to him. And accepting their tribute.

He revoked the Edict of Nantes, which gave Protestants religious freedom. He oppressed those of another faith. He didn’t like those foreigners. He didn’t like their religion. He changed the law. He was above the law.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Donald Trump does not know history. Or science. Or math. Or…fill in the blanks. But he knows one thing. He has a subservient Republican Party that will allow him to do anything he wants.

L’Etat, c’est moi.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIV_of_France

http://landmarkcases.org/en/Page/722/Nixons_Views_on_Presidential_Power_Excerpts_from_a_1977_Interview_with_David_Frost

 

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A Gun Free Zone

The 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to carry a gun anywhere I want… according to the NRA.

The NRA is hosting Donald Trump today as a speaker. I am sure he will give a great speech. He will talk about those evil liberals, like Nancy Pelosi (Scary!!!) who want to take away your guns.

He will stand tall with real Americans who want guns everywhere.

They want guns in colleges. In universities. In high schools. In elementary schools. In hospitals. In stadiums. In churches. In synagogues. In  mosques..well, they don’t want mosques but if you have to have mosques let’s put guns in them.

Guns. Guns. Guns. Everywhere guns.

It’s the 2nd Amendment.

Except. When Mr Trump gives his speech later today there will be no guns allowed at the NRA convention. None.

A real slap in the face of the 2nd Amendment.

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2nd Amendment and Gun Control, Part 1

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.

“Amendment II

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-regulated militia“. 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?

2nd Amendment and Gun control, Part 2, next time.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZS.html

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/07-290.pdf

 

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Filed under Congress, Conservatives, Constitution, GOP, government, gun control, logic, Neoconservative, NRA, Politics, Supreme Court

Read the Memo

Lately there has been much ado about the Nunes “top secret” memo which proves that the FBI is corrupt. Some claim that Nunes, who worked on the Trump transition team, was selective in his use of evidence. Like he left stuff out and kind of only used a few facts. So, the Dems wanted to release their own memo. But Nunes, who runs the Intelligence Committee, said: NO WAY!!! Only MY memo counts. You lose!

In the spirit of transparency I am releasing my own memo which outlines the rights we have in the Bill of Rights. This is top secret, so please do not share this with the Democrats.

Please note, I am using ONLY THE ACTUAL words of the Bill of Rights. These words are not transposed or altered in any way. They are in the exact order in which they were written. The “founding fathers” wrote these words, so they are to blame. Their lack of patriotism shows through. So don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger.

Amendment 1: Congress shall make…law…abridging the freedom of speech…of the press…the right of people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government….

Amendment 2: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall…be infringed.

Amendment 3: …Soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner….

Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…shall…be violated, and no Warrants shall issue….

Amendment 5: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime…any person…shall be compelled …to be a witness against himself…private property taken…without just compensation.

Amendment 6: In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy … the crime….

Amendment 7: In suits at common law…no fact… shall be… examined in any Court of the United States….

Amendment 8: Excessive bail shall…be required…excessive fines imposed…cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 9: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall …be construed to deny or disparage others….

Amendment 10: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,… prohibited… to the States… to the people.

And, as a bonus,

Article 15: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall… be denied or abridged … by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

 

It is pretty clear by my memo that the founding fathers HATED freedom and were intent on taking away our rights. After all, memos don’t lie!!!

 

http://constitutionus.com/

 

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Filed under Constitution, Democrat, government, Politics, Republicans, Society, Supreme Court

New Year Predictions 2018

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.

 

 

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Gillibrand Redux

Yesterday morning I called my senator, Kirsten Gillibrand’s office and questioned why she has not called on Mr Trump to resign, since she has called on Franken to resign for much less. I also called on her to name the other Congressmen who had harrassed her in 2014.  I explained that it seemed “opportunistic” to call for one to resign and not the others.

Her office simply said that she had already commented on the issue. As a result I wrote a blog critical of her.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/senator-gillibrand-and-the-death-of-due-process/

Yesterday afternoon Senator Gillibrand finally DID call on Trump to resign.

“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/11/politics/trump-resign-gillibrand-sexual-assault/index.html

Trump responded as expected.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”

I am not saying that my phone call had any influence on the Senator, but I am happy that she has been consistent.

(Your welcome).

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Senator Gillibrand and The Death of Due Process

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.

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/80-is-the-new-36/

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?

http://time.com/5048265/blake-farenthold-sexual-harassment-settlement/

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirsten_Gillibrand

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.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/09/kirsten-gillibrand-explains-why-she-didnt-name-her-harassers/439767/

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.

https://www.playboy.com/leeann-tweeden

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/does-gillibrand-have-a-responsibility-to-name-her-harassers

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/16/full-text-al-franken-apologizes-for-allegedly-groping-woman-244978

 

 

 

 

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Condolences to Ray and Elfreda

The election for GOP candidate for the next senator representing the good people of Alabama is this Tuesday. Mr Trump was in Bama campaigning, kind of, for Luther Strange. His opponent is Judge Roy Moore. Whomever wins this primary election is pretty much assured of beating anyone the Dems put up in the special election to fill Jess Sessions seat. I mean the last time Alabama elected a Democrat as senator (Richard Shelby) he immediately switched parties and became a Republican.

So this election is, in effect, the election for the Senate seat.

A little research shows us that Luther Strange is, well, strange. He supports Donald Trump all the way.  He wants to kill trade deals, cut off funding for family planning at Planned Parenthood and of course, “Drain the Swamp” (but that is a different essay).

Luther, as Alabama attorney general, fought to allow Hobby Lobby to keep women from accessing basic medical care, like family planning services. He also supported Exxon’s refusal to reveal the climate change research it had done. As the replacement Senator for Jeff Sessions he has voted to take away health care for 40,000,000 Americans and to gut Medicaid  (which is the primary health insurance for over 1,000,000 Alabamians, mostly children). And Luther is the SANE candidate!

Judge Roy Moore, former Australian cowboy and kickboxing champion, has his own set of abominations. He was the judge who insisted, contrary to the US Constitution, that the 10 Commandments be placed outside his courtroom. (On a side note, the good judge has a personal set of 10 Commandments he carved himself… maybe he thinks he carved the originals as well). When he lost the court case and was told to remove the 2 ton granite boulders , he refused. He put himself above the law and was removed from the bench. Then Alabamians immediately elected him to the state Supreme Court.

He wants to give public money to Christian schools. ( I guess the Alabama public school systems are glutted with cash). He has condemned homosexuals from the bench. He condemns the idea of universal health care. He condemns trade. He condemns immigration, especially from our “northern border”.  (We don’t need no Canucks!) He condemns…well… just fill in the blank with any concept designed to give folks equal rights or make their lives better. You get the picture.

So, what does this have to do with Ray and Elfreda? I went to college with Ray and Elfreda (not their real names) back in the early 1970s.  (OK, Ray and Elfreda ARE their real names. I mean, who could make up a name like Elfreda?). They both live in Alabama.

Now, you could take any rusted pickup truck with a tail light out, stars and bars decals and gun rack (in other words, ANY vehicle in Alabama) and run over 2,000,000 Alabamians. And you would not hit anyone nicer than Ray or Elfreda. I mean, these folks left the relative sanity of the north and gave their professional lives to educating the kids of the Yellowhammer State. They migrated south of the Mason-Dixon Line to help kids in a state whose leaders couldn’t choose between 2 official fish,  so named them both: the tarpon and large mouth bass.

So I send Ray and Elfreda my condolences. Luther Strange or Judge Roy Moore is going to be “representing ” them for the next 6 years. A choice between an idiot and a bigger idiot. Heads I lose, tails I lose.  Perhaps there will be a tie and BOTH candidates can go to Washington.

“Introducing the distinguished senators fro the great state of Alabama: Moore Strange.”

Ray and Elfreda, I feel your pain.

(Actually I DO feel your pain. My “representative in Congress is an avid Trump supporter and all around con artist named Tom Reed, NY -29.)

 

http://www.lutherstrange.com/on_the_issues

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Strange

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Moore

https://www.roymoore.org/Positions/

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Filed under ACA, candidate, Congress, Constitution, gay rights, GOP, Hobby Lobby, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Senate, Trump, United States

No Surprises Here

Over the last month I have watched various talking heads discuss the travesty that is the Trump presidency. They feign shock and horror at his false tweets. They are shocked by his lack of respect for the separation of powers. They are amazed that the GOP sits by while he fires a man investigating him and admits to obstruction of justice on a TV interview.

Hello.

What did you expect? What is new?

President Obama  said: “I have to tell you, this office, it’s about who you are and what you are and it doesn’t change after you occupy the office – it just magnifies it.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2104523/barack-obama-says-donald-trump-is-not-fit-to-become-the-next-us-president/

We all knew who and what Donald Trump is before he was elected. Did anyone expect that a 70 year old man, who has spent his entire life surrounded by sycophants, was going to become “presidential”? Really?

This is a man who has the following history:

Refuses to rent to black folks and is sued for discrimination (and loses) by the federal government. Had to pay a multi-million dollar settlement.

Inherited a multi-million dollar real estate empire and inside political connections with mob bosses in NYC, without lifting a finger.

Somehow managed to mismanage a casino and actually go bankrupt.

Multiple times failed to pay contractors for work done, driving some of them to the brink of bankruptcy.

Bragged about sexually abusing women.

Forced to pay over $20,000,000 damages to students he fleeced at “Trump University”.

Refused to divulge any Russia dealings in his tax returns.

Had a number of campaign advisers with strong ties to Putin. Flynn, Tillerson, Manafort, Stone, Page, Sessions, etc.

Then, of course, there are his multiple, regular false statements. A serial liar:

Obama was born in Kenya.

Clinton broke the law.

Insisted that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

He knew Putin. Then he did not know Putin. Then he met Putin. Then he did not meet Putin.

Obama illegally wiretapped his phones.

Supported a health bill that did the opposite of what he promised in the campaign.

Fired Comey because Comey was mean to Clinton. Because he was asked to do so by the assistant to Sessions. Because he was tired of the “fake” Russia investigation. Take your pick.

So, what’s the big deal. The talking heads KNEW this. Why are they surprised? The GOP rank and file KNEW this when they went into those voting booths and voted for this person. He did not get 60,000,000 votes without overwhelming support from the GOP. We all knew what he was and is. The GOP voters did not care.

And , as President Obama opined in North Carolina as the election was drawing to a close:

“This guy is temperamentally unfair to be commander in chief, and he is not equipped to be president.”

“It’s strange how over time what is crazy gets normalised, and we just kinda assume, ‘Well, he’s said a hundred crazy things, so the hundred-and-first thing we don’t even notice.”

So, let’s stop pretending that this is somehow a surprise. The question is: What does the GOP do about it? You brought us to this point. Surprise us.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Conservatives, Constitution, Cruz, Democrat, GOP, government, healthcare, liberals, obama, Politics, POTUS, president, Society, Trump, Trump University, United States

Something Deeper

Let me start by clarifying. I am not a conspiracy nut.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Bigfoot does not exist. The “government” did not take down the Twin Towers on 9/11 as an “inside job”. Millions of illegals do not vote in US elections. There is no  secret cabal of Jewish bankers running the world. The UN is not trying to destroy freedom in America. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I am a fact guy. A pragmatist. Show me the evidence and I will consider your case. But evidence is a must.

Which brings me to the latest, ongoing attacks by Mr Trump on the free press. Over and over he has been slamming any news organization that does not pay him proper homage as “the enemy of the people”. All news that is not completely positive is FAKE news.

Why keep harping on FAKE news? Why continue to try to undermine faith in such news organizations as the New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, The LA Times and others? News organizations that once in awhile make mistakes  but have spent years cultivating processes that lead to accurate reporting. News organizations that vet sources and double check  facts before putting ink to paper.

Mr. Trump is a stupid man. Yes. He is. He knows virtually nothing except how to put together real estate deals. How to manipulate  (or rather HIRE accountants to  manipulate) the tax code. He is singularly UNCURIOUS about the world. He has demonstrated no understanding of basic science, literature, history, sociology or any other field. Since he was given $13,000,000 by his father as a young man his existence has been one of self-promotion. Period.

But, Mr Trump is also a clever man. A con man. A manipulator of his supporters. A cult figure. He sees himself as larger than life. And so do the Trumpsters and Trumpettes who follow him. He knows how to use the media for free publicity, as he showed us in his  campaign for president. He hates any media that does not adore him. And he encourages his followers to do  the same.

But he WON the election in the electoral college. He is the president of the United States. So, why continue to attack the press? He won. He beat them, at least in his way of thinking.

As I said, I am not a conspiracy nut. But there is something deeper going on here.

The “leaks”, which every president hates, have gotten to Trump. He even had Sean Spicer take away the phones of his (Spicer’s) staff and had them checked for possible news leaks. Trump calls the leaks FAKE news, yet he seems to be giving credence to the validity of the information. Otherwise, why try to find the source?  If these negative reports are really “made up”, as he says, then why suspect his own inner circle?

I suspect something deeper is going on.  There are skeletons, probably Russian ones, in Mr Trump’s closet. There are connections, financial  and political, with Russian oligarchs. Perhaps with Putin himself. Connections that may be illegal or at least very damaging .

By trying to destroy the public confidence in the press, Mr Trump is staging a Pearl Harbor attack. Destroy the credibility of the press. then, when the stories come out about his corruption people may say it is simply the press out to “get him”. Mr Trump likes to control the agenda and he seeks to marginalize legitimate investigative journalism by preemptive strike. The press LIES. All the time. Don’t believe them.

Something is deeper here. Not just the rantings of our first  (and god help us, our LAST) twitter president. He is the master of distraction. He has called the New York  Times and Washington Post losers and his enemy.They did not  crumble.  When distraction  does not work he goes for destruction. Exactly the same way he did business in his real estate shenanigans.

There is something deeper here. And the press will discover it. Sooner or later. After all, Pearl Harbor was not a total defeat, it was a setback. Eventually the US won the war. The free press will not  be governed or destroyed by Mr Trump, no matter how hard he tries. But he is trying to set the stage for the inevitable investigations into his financial and political  chicanery. He hope to destroy the confidence of the citizenry in the free press. In the end, they will find him out. And publish.

The is something deeper here. Wait for it.  It will happen.

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy Fourth of July.

We all know the words….”life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. From the Declaration of Independence. 240 years ago.

According to Tom Jefferson these are three of the inalienable rights all human beings possess. (He made a few exceptions in regards to “human beings” which we need not go into at time). In the Lincoln-Douglas debates Old Abe often referred to this phrase and included ALL men, even 0nes not recognized by Tom. A different time.

And anyone who listens to politicians today, especially those on the right side of the political spectrum, certainly recognize the call for “liberty”. Freedom ! Freedom ! Freedom from tyranny. Freedom from Obamacare. Freedom from big government. Ad nauseum.

So, we agree that all men should have life and liberty. Those rights are explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.

But that third one? The pursuit of happiness? Seems like our modern right wing scholar/politicians are ignoring that third  “inalienable right”. Nothing new there. After all, they ignore half of the 2nd Amendment…the part about “a well-regulated militia”.

The idea that people should be able to be “happy” seems foreign to them. People should be free. People should be rich. People should be able to raise their kids as they see fit. People should not have to pay taxes. People should fight terrorism. But happy?

Happiness is just not part of the right wing equation when it comes to rights. Jefferson and the other men who voted to leave the British empire did so , primarily, because they just weren’t happy. And, gol darn it, they thought every man had the right to pursue happiness. That may have been a more radical idea than the right to life or liberty, which most people readily accepted. Happiness was one of the big three. Important enough to mention in the seminal document in US history.

Watching the “Make Him Fail” haters and the “Make America White…er..Great” chanters you would think that happiness is the last thing on their minds. I would guess that if all the terrible “liberals” like myself disappeared tomorrow it would not make a bit of difference. If all the soft, commie-loving “libtards” suddenly became invisible, it would not change a thing.

These sour politicians with their sour view of life would find something else to be angry about. The very idea of people pursuing happiness seems to bother them. They want laws about everything , from conception to birth to the grave. While they claim to want freedom, they really want to make sure others do not pursue too much happiness. Wipe that smile off your face and salute the flag.

They want to punish women who have sex. They want to punish people who smoke dope. They want to punish hardworking (illegal) Mexicans who are trying to make a living. They want to punish gays for..well.. being gay. Happiness is not in their Declaration of Independence.

I wonder what Jefferson would make of these folks. After all, he did write that we have inalienable rights, and AMONG THEM are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, he did acknowledge that those three were not the ONLY rights. He understood that we have many rights, some unwritten.

I suppose if he lived today he might consider the feelings  of the right wing politicians and add a fourth right. The right to be miserable. And I accept that people  have a right to be miserable. They have to right to emphasize the negative. To be nasty and insulting.

I just wish they would not exercise that right  on the rest of us.

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Hiding Under the Bed

I have been reading a lot of history lately. The biography of John Adams. The biography of Alexander Hamilton. The story of the b-17 bombing of the Nazis during WW2.

Americans of the distant and recent past put their lives on the line. Whether they were right or wrong can be debated. Was Vietnam worth it? Was Afghanistan necessary? Was Iraq a proper response to 9/11?

Whatever your political philosophy it seems as though Americans have always stood up and faced whatever “evil” they needed to face. Even if some of that “evil” may be imaginary.

Until recently.

Over the last few years we have seen a new American emerge. This is the American of the political right wing. Just as American as you or I.  But Americans who have redefined what it means to be a “patriot” or a “citizen”

These Americans, unlike their forefathers, live in a state of constant fear. They are constantly horrified. Perpetually frightened.

They reject  the liberal FDR who, when faced with the most devastating economic disaster the US had ever known, responded by telling Americans, in his first inaugural address. “The only thing we have to fear is  fear itself”. A statement FDR repeated in 1941 in response to the Nazi menace.

They reject the words of another liberal president, JFK, who pronounced, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”.

We might even try Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the GOP, who said, ” Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Well. Not so.

Today, the entire right wing seems to be hiding under their beds, teeth chattering. To hear some of these new Americans talk you would think we are a nation of cry babies and cowards.

What are they afraid of?

Gays.

Transgender people using bathrooms.

Gays getting married.

People who want to take away their guns.

People without guns.

Women who want to control their own bodies.

Blacks.

Blacks voting.

Old people voting.

Anyone voting.

The government.

Muslims.

Foreigners.

Mexicans.

Atheists.

Teachers.

Gays in the military.

Black Lives Matter.

Communists .

Socialists.

Libtards.

Did I mention gays?

Perhaps we need to get these grown men out from under the beds. Be gentle with them. Pat them on their heads. Hold their hands. Tell them it will all be okay. Nobody is going to hurt them. No gays are going to attack them. No one is taking away their guns. Heat up some cocoa and give them a cookie.

The poor darlings are frightened out of their (half)wits.

Perhaps Plato said it best over 2,000 years ago.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.

 

 

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A Pot To Piss In

The United States of America  has, in its long history, faced a number of issues of  massive importance. The debate over the very founding of the nation and the separation of powers.  The issue of slavery, debated by Lincoln and Douglas and finally determined by war. The issue of Jim Crow. The woman’s suffrage movement. Civil Rights.Various conflicts between the federal and state governments.

I remember George Wallace standing on the steps of the University of Alabama, pledging to deny entrance to young Americans of color. The federal government nationalized the Alabama National Guard  troops to move the governor aside. Momentous.

Now, we add to the list, the battle over bathrooms.

The greatest nation on Earth. The nation of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Reagan is facing another Constitutional Crisis.

To pee, or not to pee. That is the question. Shall the people of North Carolina be granted the freedom to pee in the toilet of their choice? Or should the iron hand of government compel them to pee in  approved lavatories? Shall freedom be taken away and driven into the night or shall all men, and women, and transgender men or women, be allowed to urinate and defecate in the restroom most fitting to them? Each to his or her own?

Can the great state of North Carolina demand a birth certificate as proof of one’s right to pee in a specific place?  Should the federal government join in and demand that all men, or women, or transgender men or women, have the right to eliminate in the facility of their choice? That, my friends, is the question facing America.

The intellectual titans of the USA, that beacon of freedom, are now engaged in a debate over the very hearts and souls of toilet bowls. To flush or not to flush? Put the seat down or leave it up?

Can you think of anything more humiliating or embarrassing than a government, whether local, state or federal, becoming enmeshed in where one goes to the bathroom? I can’t.

I know, sometimes major universal truths and rights are determined by small incidents. Does it matter where you sit on  the bus? Does it matter that a school closes it’s doors to you because of your skin color? Does it matter whether or not a baker has to bake a cake? I suppose it does.

At the same time, not everything needs to be a court case. Not every principle needs to be fought over . Sometimes we can let stuff slide. Even stuff that is wrong. Maybe a little perspective?

We are not talking about getting an education. Or a job. Or the right to vote. Or the right to dine in any public establishment. Someone just needs to use the toilet. Does the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina and the United States of America really need to get involved? Is this an issue worthy of a Constitutional crisis? Do we need a “law”?

Do we have more pressing problems?

I am reminded of the first time I traveled to Guatemala. Early in the morning  I was watching some man walking past a side street in Antigua. He must have already had his morning coffee. He stopped, glanced around (he didn’t see me), and proceeded to urinate against the side of a building. Zipped up. Walked on.

Problem solved.

 

 

 

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Filed under Constitution, government, governor, homosexual, North Carolina, Politics, Religion, Society, Supreme Court, United States, US