Category Archives: logic

Who Was That Old Lady, Anyway?

When I was little we had an old lady living with us. We called her “Busia” (boo-shah). She had been born in Poland and came to the USA in 1913 by boat, two small kids in tow. In steerage. She was meeting her husband, who was already in the USA working in the mines.

When I knew her she was already pretty old. She didn’t speak English because she had had a stroke. It also left her right arm partially paralyzed so the time I accidentally slammed the car door on her she didn’t feel a thing. Small favors.

Her husband, who I never met, was long dead. Her only son went to war against the Nazis. He was shot down and killed over Germany. She had a flag. The US government had sent her a flag.

She cheated at cards. And when you tried to call her on it she could not (or pretended she could not) understand what you were saying. Hopeless. But she made the best potato pancakes I ever have had. Been trying to duplicate them for 50 years. Haven’t succeeded.

Who was this old lady? For a long time I thought she was a close family member with a “bone fide” relationship. For a long time I treated as though she was a member of the family.

The other day I found out I was wrong. The USA’s new, improved “travel ban ” from a number of countries has gone into effect. No longer can anyone emigrate to the USA. The only exceptions are people from these countries who are close family members. Who have a “bona fide” relationship to a citizen or legal immigrant. I think that is not such a bad idea.

So, who is included as a “close family member”? Parents, spouses, siblings, fiances and children.

And who is specifically EXCLUDED from the category of “close family member”? Who cannot claim a close family relationship. Who is, for purposes of sponsoring immigration, a “stranger”.

This may surprise some of you whose children have had children. Among those not in the category of “close family member” are  “grandparents”. Grandma and grandpa are not “close family members” Fiances are. But not Gramps.

Which brings me back to Busia. Busia was my mother’s mother. Who lived with us off and on for many years. She was my grandmother. Who , at the time, I THOUGHT was a fairly close relative of mine. Not so. My mother’s mother was something else. What was she?

Who was that old lady, anyway?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling-idUSKBN19S08N

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Filed under Foreign policy, heritage, immigrants, Immigration, Iran, Islam, logic, Politics, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, United States

The Great Health Insurance Lie

The ongoing debate about about health care continues. Is the ACA better than Trumpcare? Is Trumpcare better because it includes more free market choices? Is Obamacare better because it covers 24,000,000 more people? What about the deficit.

And so forth.

But there is one fact, one truth, one absolute “know” that all sides of the debate seem to accept at face value. If you can disabuse yourself of this “truth” the health care issue can be solved.  There is one “given” that no one  from Sanders to Clinton to Trump to Cruz or any of their associates seems to challenge. That given is the following fallacy

Companies provide health insurance to employees. The government supplies health insurance to employees. Health insurance costs “job creators” billions of dollars a year.

False. Absolutely false.

There is not now, never has been and never will be any company or school district or government that provides health insurance to the employee.  Every employee from the highest to the lowest paid. In every industry. In every business. In every time period. Every employee has always paid and will always pay their own health insurance costs. Period.

Health insurance costs are not taken out of profits. They are not taken out of investors’ dividends. They are taken out of the employee’s salary. Every time.

Anyone who has ever been involved in negotiating contracts should understand this. As should anyone who has an understanding of basic economic theory. Every employer , whether public or private, has  an amount  of money that it sets aside for the “cost of labor”. Part of that “cost of labor” is benefits. One of those costly benefits is health insurance.

Does anyone think, really, that health insurance is some “gift” from an employer? Really? Never. The cost of health insurance is simply deducted from the employee’s salary as part of the “cost of labor”. The employee takes a lower salary and pays for his own insurance.

Does anyone really think that a business negotiates  a contract and then, out of the goodness of its heart, just adds on health insurance? Really?

Once you understand that you, as an employee pay for your own insurance you realize how vile the CEOs of companies like Hobby Lobby truly are. Hobby Lobby employees pay for their own insurance, yet the Supreme Court has decreed that the CEO of Hobby Lobby can dictate the kind of coverage the employee has paid for. Ludicrous.

So, next time someone tells you that their employer is “providing health insurance” and so the employer should be able to dictate what coverage they can have. Set them straight. Tell them they pay for their own insurance. And will continue to do so. Even though their boss may dictate what kind of coverage they get.

Your employer “gives” you health insurance. The big fat heath insurance lie. And another reason why we should have a single payer option. After all, the workers are paying for health insurance, shouldn’t they decide what option they want?

 

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Filed under ACA, Congress, Cruz, economics, Economy, government, healthcare, Hobby Lobby, logic, Obamacare, Politics, Society, unions, United States, workers

Trump’s Moonies

When  I was in college from 1968-72 there was a guy I knew who was incredibly smart. Probably the most intelligent person I ever met, aside, of course, from yours truly. I forgot his name so let’s call  him Rex.

Rex had a scientific, analytical mind. A good sense of humor. An all around swell fellow.  He liked to talk and debate and discuss. Issues. Not the latest American idol.  (Thank god we had no  American idols back then). No,  he liked to discuss politics and history and philosophy.And he was always open to see things in a new way. If you could show him some evidence.

Then, something changed. One day he showed up with his head shaven.  And in robes. He has joined the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. He was a “Moonie”. He walked around and collected money from people. Like most churches. And like most churches,  the bulk of the money collected found a route to the top. No trickle down economics in this group.

But Rex was no longer Rex. He could not articulate any views other than the approved teachings of the Great Reverend, the second coming of Christ.He could spout the exact dogmas and doctrines of his church, but could not defend any of them using logic or evidence.  He never even tried. It was not necessary. He had found a coherent system of beliefs and no external evidence that challenged that system was going to be heard. He never argued.  He never explained. He simply told us the truth. And asked for money.

Which brings me to Trump’s Moonies.

They have a leader who can do no wrong. Even though factchecks show him to be wrong 65% of the time, it matters not.  The Trump Moonies have closed ears and closed minds. If he says there was a terror attack in Sweden, it must be true. If he says  his inauguration attendance was the greatest ever, any photographic evidence to the contrary is ignored. If he says that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were cheering the downfall of the WTC on 9/11. Then it happened.   If he says the borders are porous, even though under President Obama the USA deported more people than ever before, then the borders are porous. The facts are not important. He is correct. That is all a Moonie needs to know.

The Trump Moonies are blind to any evidence or facts that contradict their leader. They do not argue. They do not demonstrate with evidence. They select a false reality. They create an alternate set of “facts”. They are beyond evidence. Facts are a fungible commodity. Facts do not exist as a thing apart. Facts, in fact, do not exist at all. All news is “fake news”.  Any story that does not fit the religion is a lie. Period. The earth IS flat.

That is why it is a fool’s errand to wait for Trump’s Moonies to “come around”. It is inconceivable that they will abandon their religious dogma in the face of facts or evidence. No matter how badly Trump performs or how he lies or makes a mess of the nation, the Moonies will be blind.

Like my friend Rex they simply will not look. They choose willful ignorance and blind obedience. They have a religion which provides for them a clear vision of the world. Blacks are thugs. Immigrants are rapists. Refugees are terrorists. Welfare is wrong. Abortion is murder. Liberals are evil. Taxes are bad. Climate change is an Al Gore plot. The list goes on. It cannot be debated. It cannot even be considered. There is only one true religion, and they have found it in Trumpism. There is only one savior.

So, don’t expect any changes or compromises. Don’t expect anything other than what you have seen. The magnificent delusion of Trumpism. Now, all join hands and repeat after me, five times a day, on your knees facing Trump Towers: There is no  god but Trump, and Bannon is the messenger of Trump.

 

(I have argued in the past that the Tea Party Republicans are not a political entity, but are in fact a fundamentalist religion. A post from 3 years ago: The Most Holy Church of the Republican Party  ).

 

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Filed under GOP, government, logic, neoconservatives, Politics, POTUS, Religion, Republicans, Society, tea party, Trump, United States, US

Women’s March For Slavery

Today is the 44th annual Women’s March For Slavery as tens of thousands of women and men will descend on Washington, DC.

These marchers, who have Vice President Mike Pence as their keynote speaker, will once again demand the imposition of slavery on every woman of childbearing age. They are demanding that Big Government take control of women’s bodies. They are marching for the ideal that Big Government , not women, should control what a woman can and cannot do with her own body.

Keep on mind that Mike Pence, the main speaker,  was very clear that he opposes the ACA, also called Obamacare. Like most opponents of the ACA he does not want the government getting between a patient and his doctor.He thinks Big Government is bad , especially when it comes to interfering with a man and his doctor. But that does not apply to women.

Women, on the other hand, NEED Big Government to tell them what to do with their bodies. That is one area where Big Government knows best.

Those who march today support this idea. Women should not control their own bodies. Women and doctors should not be making medical decisions for women.  Women must NOT control their own bodies. Women do not have that right.

Which brings us to the March For Slavery.

People who do not control their own bodies are called “slaves”. Slaves do not control whether or not they have babies. The Master does. Slaves do not control whether or not they have access to birth control. Their Master does. Slaves do not control medical  decisions that may or may not lead to negative physical  or psychological consequences. The Master does. If the Master wants you to “breed”, you are a breeder.

Those who march today are holding signs that SHOULD say: We Support Slavery .  But they are too cowardly to do so.  Instead they hide behind the misnomer “Right to Life”.  In fact, it is “Right to Impose My Medieval Ideology” .

So, the anti-Big Government Mike Pence and others are publicly supporting keeping half of our population in virtual  slavery. They support Big Government deciding when and IF a woman  has baby. They support reducing every woman to the category of a brood mare. A slave.

There is no middle ground on this issue. Either half the population controls their own bodies or Big Government does. The March For Slavery mob thinks that Big Government should decide.

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Trump’s Alternative Reality Explained

I saw Kelly Conway, Trump’s spokesperson ,  explain that she has a right to “alternative facts” if the actual facts are not suited to her story. Hey, this is America. When the facts are liberal what other choice does she have?

But as I examine the myriad of demonstrably false claims of her boss I am left wondering if he is, in fact (or, more precisely, in “alternative fact”) correct and honest in his  statements . Can one man deliver so much misinformation? Does he really have the IQ to make up all the stuff he makes up? Or does he really believe it?

Which brings me to Star Trek.

Anyone who has ever watched Star Trek or the many spin offs of Star Trek understands that we are not alone.  Spock (Mr, not Dr), would be the first to tell us that in addition to our own universe there are millions of parallel universes which also exist.  In space. And in time.

For those of you who  are ignorant of the realities of the hard science of fictional characters and preposterous ideas on TV shows, let me try to explain. Perhaps your puny human brains will be able to comprehend.

In the space-time continuum there are many points of overlap. As time and space bend (according to Einstein) there are points at which space and time meet and fold . Kind of like a bean burrito on a hot day in east LA.  It can get messy.

Where these folds occur there are sometimes breaks and openings or fissures in the space-time continuum. Again, according to Einstein (not Albert, but Juan Einstein who runs the taco stand on 112th Street), this is similar to what happens when the soft taco shell leaks. While the entire taco holds together, certain breaks in the tortilla allow beans, salsa, cheese and some other goo to leak through. This is nearly identical to  a fissure in the time-space continuum.

When that happens, in the universe or at a Mexican eatery, things get sloppy. Leakage occurs. Things spill over from one reality to another. It ain’t a pretty sight.

This explains Donald Trump. Every one of Donald Trump’s statements is factually correct and accurate. It is just that he (and many of the folks who followed him through the wormhole) are living in a parallel universe. They have seeped into our reality like the sloppy drippings of a three day old soft shell burrito.

In Universe Trump  the size of a crowd on a photo is inversely proportional to the actual number of people there. For example, in Universe Trump I have over 6 billion followers of my blog, rather than being limited to my wife and the neighbor’s cat. (Well, the cat skips a lot of them).

In Universe Trump millions of people vote illegally whereas in our universe, let’s call it the Real Universe, there is no voter fraud of any consequence. None. Zippo.

In Universe Trump Mexican people are lined up at the 2,000 mile border 8 deep while Obama border agents hand them $1000 bills and pull them over to our side. In the Real Universe, of course, deportations and border security are at an all-time high.

In Universe Trump there is chaos everywhere. Carnage in the streets.  Well, any streets that have not been destroyed by liberal policies.Carnage in our schools where kids learn nothing. Absolutely nothing.  (I guess in Trump’s Universe knowing nothing is a sign of an educated person). Carnage, carnage everywhere. What a mess.In the Real  Universe there are problems, but no bodies piled up by the thousands (except at anti-Trump rallies).

In Universe Trump our military is a bunch of worthless wimps, our factories have all closed and the planet is getting colder by the minute. Of course, in the Real Universe none of this is true.

So, to understand Trump you have to realize that somewhere in the space-time continuum he fell through a hole. (Or maybe pushed by someone on the other side. Barron? Ivanka? Melania?)There is a place in space where our universes meet, the Real one and the Trump one. Somewhere there is that fissure in the burrito.

How do we find it ? It would have be a place devoid of integrity. A place where conmen and the mob feel at home. A place where all hope, dignity and honesty  goes to die. Kind of like New Jersey but not quite as despicable.

So, what do we do? The Trump Universe has taken power in the Real Universe.Can we go  back in time and seal the fissure? Can the Real Universe overcome the Trump Universe and bring back Real Universe sanity. Can we build a time machine, maybe with illegal labor? Or will the Donald return to his own universe voluntarily, perhaps seeking a younger eastern European bride?

The solution is obvious. We need a transporter. (Do I have to explain? You know , it dissolves you and then sets you down someplace else). A transporter beam that we can use to beam back Trump to the universe from which he came. Transport him right through the fissure in the burrito.

Unless it is already too late.  By now those who he left behind may be worried that he will return. I expect they are already building  a wall.

 

 

 

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Filed under border control, Democrat, GOP, government, liberals, logic, Politics, Trump, United States, US

All Mouth, No Ears

I had someone who called himself “Joe Citizen” respond to my post about Hillary Clinton and why I am voting for her. Despite the fact that his post had some factual errors I found the most interesting part his final 3 sentences. They read:

“Reply or don’t reply. I don’t care. I’m not going to read it anyway.”

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/i-wont-vote-for-a-woman-potus/

This got me to thinking about the very nature of political discourse over the last 8 years. Not limited to the extreme right wing, but certainly manifesting itself there with alarming regularity. The attitude is one succinctly noted by “Joe Citizen”. It boils down to this.

I will talk. But I will not listen. I will state untruths and errors, but I will not accept facts , evidence or data. Mouth open. Ears closed.

We see this in the multiple investigations of Hillary Clinton. Every one has come up empty. All 9 Benghazi committees (8 run solely by the GOP) found no evidence of wrongdoing. No matter. Ears Closed. Regarding Clinton’s use of emails, the FBI found no wrongdoing (carelessness, yes) and stated so on page 57 of the latest released report. Ears closed.

There are just some people who will not open their minds to evidence or facts. They will not let evidence interfere with their preconceived notions or stereotypes. Like the little boy in the back seat of the car cupping his hands over his ears and whining “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you” to Mom and Dad.

Donald Trump implies that most or almost all Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals.The fact is that there are approximately 74,000 inmates in prison who are not US citizens.(And not all of these would be Mexican illegals) There are an estimated 11,000,000 illegal Mexican immigrants. Do the math. There is no evidence  to back up Donald’s claims. No matter. Ears closed.

Donald Trump claims that most blacks live in dire poverty when the actual statistics show that 75% of African-Americans are above the poverty level  in income. Not a great statistic. But a major improvement since the 1970s, when the numbers were hovering around 50%. No matter. Ears closed.

The “Hate Hillary” advocates have been crying over and over and over that Clinton or Obama or both issued a “stand down” order and prevented the US military from saving lives in Benghazi. 9 committees have said that is blatantly false. 8 GOP run committees found no evidence of any “stand down” order. No matter. Ears closed.

And the examples could go on and on and on. Obama born in Kenya. Global warming a plot by Al Gore. Bill Clinton responsible for 9/11. Saddam had WMDs. Hillary Clinton on Death’s Door. Obama created ISIS. Blacks hate cops. Etc.

It is one thing to have honest differences of opinion. And to have differing interpretations of events and actions. It is quite another to refuse to consider evidence and facts. Too much of the rhetoric from what used to be the radical fringe and is now personified in the Trump campaign is just plain false. But those who hold those views refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary.Ears closed.

I imagine these same folks were among the those who shook their heads in disbelief as Columbus sailed westward to find the route to the Indies. They were sure he was going to sail off the edge of the Earth. Of course, the educated “elites”  knew  (as did the ancient Greeks) the the world was round and not flat. But that knowledge would not interfere with the preconceived notions of the uneducated. Ears closed.

There are two methods for analyzing data and coming to conclusions. You can have your preset notions and stereotypes in place. And search and search only for the bits and pieces that support your preconceived ideas. Take quotes out of context. Take a line here and a line there from a report. Or in some cases, like Trump’s claim that hundreds of Muslims in New Jersey were rejoicing at 9/11, just make stuff up. You can ignore any and all evidence that forces you to reconsider your world view. Ears closed.

Or. You can have a point of view and seek to find all relevant data. To see if it fits. And then change your point of view as new evidence dictates . In other words, you can use evidence to develop a point of view. That is the scientific approach. Analyze new information and see how it fits. Adjust. Ears open. Mind open.

So, “Joe Citizen” and folks with his point of view don’t need facts. They don’t need evidence. They don’t accept anything that might contradict their stereotypes and prejudices.  ” I am not going to read it anyway”. And there are a lot of them. Which is why Donald Trump is the nominee for the GOP.

He is the perfect example:All Mouth. No Ears.

 

 

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Filed under Benghazi, candidate, Clinton, Congress, Democrat, Elections, Foreign policy, Hillary, immigrants, logic, obama, Politics, president, Republicans, Society, Trump

Carolina on My Mind…or in My Toilet

North Carolina just passed a law about using public bathrooms. I assume LGBT folks using bathrooms has become a statewide epidemic of sorts! While I usually don’t care what kind of genitalia anyone else in the bathroom is packing, I thought I better clarify some issues so I don’t break any laws. Or customs.

This is a copy of a letter I submitted to the Charlotte Observer.

 

Dear Folks. I am coming down to North Carolina this October to play some golf and am a bit concerned about the new bathroom law just passed. I guess I don’t understand it so maybe you can answer some questions so I don’t make a fool of myself. Or break any laws.
1. When I enter a restroom will I have to drop my pants so the attendant can see whether or not I have the proper equipment? If so, would you suggest boxers or briefs?
2. If I suspect the “guy” (or maybe not the “guy”) in the next stall is not really the “guy” in the next stall, should I dial 911 to handle the emergency?
3. Will I need to bring a birth certificate to verify that I was born with the right equipment and have not just added it later on a whim? Will a photocopy be acceptable? (I don’t want another Obama situation!)
4. Can I ask a fellow toilet user to produce his (or “her”) equipment if I suspect he (or she) may be hiding, or not hiding, something? Like a “citizen’s arrest”?
5. Are the public restrooms now clearly labeled: Men, Women and Other? And do you still have some labeled: Whites Only?
6. If my equipment is challenged by another “guy” will I have to appear in court and produce proper evidence?
Not being a lawmaker or a lawyer I am afraid that I might inadvertently make a “faux pas” by using an inappropriate facility.
I am really looking forward to heading into North Carolina. Up here in Yankee land we are dealing with unemployment, poverty, gun violence, high taxes, etc. It will be a real pleasure to relax in a place where the biggest problem is determining the sex organs of fellow facility users.

(signed) Joe Urban

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“Doing The Mitch”

The GOP Senate, lead (?) by Mitch McConnell, has announced that they are refusing to consider any Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Obama. Even though the Constitution does require the Senate to “advise and consent” on judicial  appointments, they have decided that they will refuse to abide by this Constitutional requirement. They won’t even listen to Mr. Obama on the matter.

Why? Because President Obama has only one year left in his four year term of office. And in their minds that means that he should relinquish his Constitutional power. NOW! And relax .

At first I thought this was odd. But since the McConnell announcement I have had many experiences which have convinced me that his philosophy may be the norm. In fact, across America millions have now embraced  McConnell . It even has a name. “Doing the Mitch”.

Some examples:

I called 911 because a burglar was breaking into my house. The operator informed me that she was retiring in 7 months. She said she was not going to put my call though because she was “Doing the Mitch”. Why bother? With only a few months left to work?

So, I called back and finally got a 911 operator who took my call. (By now a truck had backed up to my door and a gang of burglars were loading up my furniture).

Finally a police car arrived and Officer Blarney got out. I was relieved. I pointed out the burglars ripping me off. He had a faraway look in his eyes. And rolled them. I begged for help.

“Sorry, sir”,  he said. “I am due to retire in 10 months. In the old days I might have done something,  but no longer.  I am taking my cue from the US Constitution. I am “Doing the Mitch”.  You’ll have to call the department and ask for some rookie to come out.”

Since the truck with all my worldly belongings was starting to pull away I took matters into my own hands. I dragged one of the burglars from the truck, but was then pummeled into a stupor by the other two. As I lie on the cold hard ground I managed to find my phone and speed dialed the local hospital (don’t ask why the local hospital is on speed dial). Thank god a young voice answered.

The ambulance arrived in record time, about 30 minutes later. To my horror the EMT had graying hair and a lot of wrinkles.As he looked at me lying on the ground I could feel his irritation.

“Look”, he explained. “I would like to help you, but the fact is that I am retiring in 9 months. I really don’t see the point in working any longer. The end of my term is almost up. It doesn’t seem fair to me to force me to do my job. I am “Doing the Mitch”.

Well, I finally crawled into the hospital and was given medical assistance. Sort of . Unfortunately for me I needed a couple bones reset. The good news was that the MD who saw me was new on the job. Great. The bad news was that the anesthesiologist was near retirement. “Doing the Mitch”. Ouch. That hurt.

So, there we have it. A nation of Constitutional scholars dedicated to “Doing the Mitch”. As I was recuperating in the hospital bed a nice old lady came in with a cake that someone had sent to me as a gift. At first I was a bit worried. So I asked her, “Are you near retirement?”.

“No”, she responded sweetly. “I have a year and three months left delivering cakes for the Kim Davis Kentucky Bakery”.

“Great, I’ll take the that cake” I blurted.

“Not so fast, dearie”, she glared. “Are you gay?”

 

 

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Speaking Ill of the Dead

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Evidently the ancient Romans did not know Antonin Scalia.

I have no problem writing ill of Scalia. He’s dead. He won’t read this. And if he did I could care less.

Scalia was not, as his supporters like to claim, the voice of “conservatism” on the court. More likely, he qualifies as the voice of the “reactionaries”. Those who want to return to an imaginary past. He was not, as his supporters claim, a “strict constructionist” devoted to the Constitution. He was, in essence, a “reactionary” devoted to the Articles of Confederation.

You may recall that the Articles of Confederation were the first plan of government after the revolution. It gave massive power to individual states and little power to the central government. It guaranteed no rights nationwide. It was an abysmal failure. It was because the “states rights” concept  failed so miserably that the Constitution was formed.

Scalia was more devoted to the Articles than to the Constitution.  Some examples.

In 2000, in Bush v Gore. Scalia sided with the 5-4 majority is overturning the Florida Supreme Court.That  Florida court had ruled that it was necessary to recount the Florida voted because under Florida Constitution and law a vote so close had to be recounted. The Florida Supreme Court wanted to get it right.

Scalia, siding with the majority, supported the very odd decision that counting all the votes fairly would impact negatively on the Bush campaign. The vote count was stopped. The right of the state of Florida to follow its own election laws was overturned by the SCOTUS.  Justice Scalia had a son who was in the lawfirm directly involved in the Bush appeal to the SCOTUS, which should have been a reason for his recusal.

Scalia opposed the right of citizens to health care under the ACA. He used a rather foolish broccoli analogy to suggest that the federal government had no right to implement any law requiring people to..well..do anything.  (Actually, Scalia was the prime target of a 2012 blog post on this matter….    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/scalia-and-the-broccoli-conundrum/)

Scalia opposed the rights of gays to marry. He took the position that only the individual states can decide on whether or not an adult can marry. State’s rights, ignoring the amendments guaranteeing equal protection under the laws.

Perhaps the strangest case ever for someone who claimed to be a “strict constructionist”  was the Citizens United fiasco. Overturning federal law to regulate money in politics. The decision basically created a new class of citizens, called “corporations”. According to Scalia, corporations had first amendment rights to spend money on candidates. No where in the Constitution is there any indication that the founding fathers sought to make corporations “persons” in the same sense as you and I are persons. this was a complete contortion of the reason for the Bill of Rights in the first place. To protect INDIVIDUALS from governmental power. Another example of Scalia claiming to be a “strict constructionist” and then ignoring the Constitution.

And, adding to this fantasy. A corporation called Hobby Lobby was granted “religious” reasons for not providing adequate health care to its employees. A total perversion of the meaning of the First Amendment. And Scalia was there. Leading the charge.

Scalia consistently refused to support individual rights. He opposed a woman’s right to abortion He supported overturning the Voting Rights Act. He supported the idea that individual states could deny classes of citizens certain rights. He was the most reactionary justice since WW2, perhaps since the Civil War. There is no doubt that he would have been very comfortable voting with the majority in the Dred Scott case. After all, slavery was a “state’s rights” issue.

So. I speak ill of the dead. But, in fairness to me, I spoke ill of him when he was alive. His death does not make his decisions any more palatable. The fact that he has passed from political power can only be seen as a positive step for individual rights. His loss is not one to mourn.

 

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, Constitution, Dred Scott, gay marriage, gay rights, gays, GOP, government, healthcare, Hobby Lobby, logic, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

You Never Know

The idea that Trump or Cruz could be elected president is almost unimaginable to anyone with a…well…to anyone. They both have a long history of dishonesty and fabrication. So,  how could either of these two clearly incompetent men ever win that high office.

Well, as grandma used to say regarding just about anything . “You Never Know”.

After all. There are still people who…..

…are convinced that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. No amount of evidence  like a birth certificate, two Hawaiian newspaper notices or witnesses to his birth (I do believe his mother was there) will change their minds. Was he born in Kenya? You never know.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories

…believe that the Affordable Care Act allows the government to establish death panels. These death panels will decide if and when to execute you or me. I should live so long. Have the death panelists earmarked anyone for execution yet? You never know.   https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/clarence-avoids-the-death-panels/

…insist that Sasquatch is real. They know he or she is real because they have seen the videos. And videos, we have learned, do not lie. And for further proof, there is an entire industry devoted to Sasquatch paraphernalia. They couldn’t sell Sasquatch stuff if it wasn’t real!  There is even a Sasquatch DNA site. God, I hope I’m related ! I could be. You never know.      http://www.sasquatchgenomeproject.org/index.html

…deny that the climate is changing. Or, if it is changing , then human activity has nothing to do with the overall increase in global temperatures. Some of the more astute deniers point out that it still snows sometimes, which thoroughly debunks any “global warming” claims. If it was cold today how can the earth be warming up? This entire global warming hoax could be a plot by Al Gore to make millions! (Remember him? The guy who received 500,000 more votes for POTUS than GW Bush?)  Or is it a plot by COMMUNISTS?  The commies are still hanging around. You never know.        http://www.commieblaster.com/climategate/

…insist that Bill Clinton is responsible for 9/11.  ….http://wonkette.com/595179/its-official-bill-clinton-did-911

…are certain that Hillary Clinton refused to send aid to the American ambassador in Benghazi.    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261442/hillarys-benghazi-stand-down-order-exposed-kenneth-r-timmerman

…have been abducted by aliens. No, not all the Mexican/alien rapists that Trump told us about. Real aliens. The UFO-type. Weird eyes. Pointy heads. Pushed in noses. NO, NOT Trey Gowdy. Real aliens. Trey Gowdy…hmmmmm?             https://josephurban.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/157bc-pinhead.jpeg

http://www.ufocasebook.com/alienabductions.html

…will believe whatever they want to believe.   http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/cms/index.php

So, can Cruz or Trump ever be elected president? As frightening as it is…You Never Know.

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Sideshow Sarah Screeches for Trump

It is just too easy to make fun of Sideshow Sarah. About as challenging as rolling a ball downhill. Just sit back and watch. It is inevitable. And predictable.

Still, it was enthralling  watching Sideshow make her endorsement of the other huckster in the political arena, the Donald. The used car salesman extraordinaire. The man who is the master of the vague generality and the specific vulgarity.

You can find the Palin “speech” on Youtube, along with Tina Fey and the SNL version, which is more coherent. I recommend sitting down and watching with a 4 year old who can interpret for you.

As I said, making fun of Sideshow is too easy. So  seriously. Some things to think about.

1. This woman has been pulling in money for her PAC (SarahPAC) to the tune of over 1 million bucks a year. Her PAC is a way for the faithful Tea Party conservatives to funnel their hard earned cash to conservative candidates.

In the last filing for her PAC it was discovered that about 4% of the money was actually given to candidates. 4%. The rest is spent on various fundraising activities for the PAC itself, consultants and some luxurious hotel and travel arrangements. (When was the last time YOU stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City?)

From my point of view I think this is great. After all, taking money from the gullible right wingers and NOT spending it to elect right wingers is ok in my book. OKEY-DOKEY. Hopey-changey. Not to mention the boost to the economy by the purchase of $700 blouses, somewhat successful facelifts and something called “speech writing”. Really. $48,000 for speech writing. Someone actually writes those words ahead of time. But, if it wastes right wing dollars, I am all for it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/sarah_palin_s_pac_is_spending_more_on_hotels_and_travel_than_on_gop_candidates.html

2. This woman is stepping up to the plate and doing for Donald what she did for McCain. Ted Cruz must be jumping for joy. Well, maybe not jumping. Perhaps hopping. And not for “joy”. Let me try again: Ted Cruz must be standing on one leg and spewing less bile and invective than usual. After all, Sideshow Sarah has endorsed the last two POTUS candidates.  Ask President McCain. Ask President Romney.

3. And this one gets scarier all the time. WHAT IF? What if McCain had been elected by some fluke of the voting machines. And Sideshow Sarah had to take over the office of the presidency. What if she and her clan had become the “First Family” of the United States of America? Instead of two quiet young, well-mannered girls staying out of the limelight we would have Bristol and Track or whatever their names are? “Family values” on display.  Regular White House visits by the DC police department.

What if Sideshow Sarah was in charge of our nuclear arsenal? Or sat down with Putin to negotiate? What if? The more we see of her the scarier it gets.

So. She is back.  And not funny. An empty shell with a big PAC. The press will always cover her because that is what the press does. It covers “celebrities”. It covers disasters. It publicizes  the odd and crass rather than the normal and the classy. And the crasser, the better. An entertainer endorsing another entertainer. It looks like the Clown Car just got a new member. And if you think elections should be a serious event, it is not funny.

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No, Rand, You Don’t

Much has been made of Rand Paul’s silly statements about vaccines. They are so ludicrous that they do not bear repeating. Just file them under: Paul, Rand, Typical.

But one part of his statement does bear scrutiny. Why ? Because it reflects, in a few words, the entire misguided libertarian “philosophy”. He stated that the government does not “own ” children. Which, of course, is true. But then he added that “parents own” their children.

It is this simplistic libertarian attitude that is the very weak foundation of the Paul “philosophy”. I own it. It is mine. I have no responsibility to anyone or anything. I can use and dispose of it anyway I want, without regard for others.

If ,as Paul claims, a libertarian parent “owns” his child, then all protections for children disappear. Can a parent abuse a child? Can a parent deny the theory of gravity and throw a child from a window on the 10th floor? Can a parent sell a child into prostitution?

Of course these are extreme examples. But if one accepts the basic premise of child “ownership” then a parent can do whatever he wants, can’t he?

This is where the libertarian “philosophy” falls apart. The denial of rights for anyone except ME. It is the ultimate ME philosophy. No matter how one wants to sell it , the main idea comes back to “MY rights are more important than anyone else’s rights.” Even more important than the rights of my own child.

I don’t have to vaccinate my kids. Other people’s kids have no right to be safe from the measles. I don’t have to wash my hands if I am serving food. The restaurant patron has no rights to a safe eating environment. I don’t have to serve certain “types” of people in my restaurant. Other people do not have a right to equal pubic accommodations.

In the end, the Rand Paul philosophy of ME cannot stand up to the sensible and simple idea that we live in a society. He cannot seem to grasp that he is not the only ME in the world. Kind of like a three year old.

No, Rand, you don’t own your children. You are their caretaker and guardian. Protector. They do not belong to you to dispose of as you wish.

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The Slippery Slope of Slippery Slopes

As I walked out to the mailbox on this wintry day I fell 33 times on the ice. Very slippery. A veritable slippery slope of slippery slopes. Which got me to thinking.

Many arguments about “rights” from my conservative compadres these days seem to hinge on the slippery slope idea. The argument is that if you allow the government to do “A”, then the government will do “B”. then the government will do “C”…all the way to “XYZ”. And that, my friends , is the end of civilization as we know it. Doom awaits us.

Take gay marriage as an example. Those who want to ban gay marriage (now declared legal and constitutional in 35 states) have a state’s rights argument. The philosophy behind the argument for not allowing gay adults to marry goes something like this. (Hang on to your hat, it is gonna get slippery)

If you allow gays to marry, then what next ? The government will allow polygamous marriages. Then it will allow animals to marry people. The slope is fast and very slick. Gay marriage leads to human-animal nuptials. Want to be the flower girl at the wedding of Uncle Jed to Barb the Burro ? I thought not.

Another controversy rife with slippery slope reasoning (?) is gun control. If the government can regulate my use of a gun, what next? The government will ban all guns. To everyone. For all times. Then the jackbooted thugs will take over my house. (Usually Obama’s jackbooted thugs, but not always).The end of civilization as we know it. After all, what is more civilized than an AK-47?

It is hard to argue with such unreasonable reasoning. If “A” occurs…then “XYZ”. So, instead, let’s play the game of slippery slopes. In reverse.
Gay marriage. If the state government can prevent two adult citizens from getting married, what next ? Can the government prevent blacks from marrying whites ? Swedish-Americans from marrying Chinese-Americans? Eventually the states will prevent heterosexuals from marrying each other. No one can get married. Or worse, the state (I’m thinking Alabama here) will make it mandatory for cousins to marry. Or for brothers to marry sisters. Or for humans to marry animals ! Slippery slope.

On gun control. If the state cannot regulate guns, what next. People will be able to carry guns anywhere. Into the mall. Into church. Onto airplanes. Into Congress. And people will be able to carry any kind of weapon. AK-47’s in the front row at Xmas Midnight Mass. The wealthy can afford their own nukes. And children can have guns as well. Playgrounds will become realistic battlegrounds with real bullets instead of pretend ones. And animals ! Do you really want to be confronted by a hungry, armed squirrel. They go nuts. A slippery slope from not allowing reasonable gun control to every felon, child, airline stewardess and nun being armed , locked and loaded. The slippery slope.

Law “A” leads to…well…Law “A”. Nothing more. So, beware of slippery slopes. Throw down some salt on the ice. Tread carefully. In the end, all slippery slope arguments end up leading to a fall. Wear extra padding on your butt and use your common sense.

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Filed under Conservatives, gay rights, gun control, homosexual, logic, slippery slope, Society