Tag Archives: supreme court

Full Military Honors

The McConnell Supreme Court just issued a very fascinating ruling about fetuses. They upheld a portion of an Indiana law, signed into law by the most holy Pence,  that requires the proper burial or cremation of a fetus that has been aborted. Also, if the woman has a miscarriage.

Now, in Indiana about 99% of abortions are performed within the first 13 weeks. At that point the fetus is less than 4 inches long. The size of a nice string bean. Some of these fetuses will be much shorter, of course.  And the fetus weighs in at a rather hefty…well…less than 2 ounces. Less than half of a quarter pounder at McDonald’s.

According to my understanding of the Indiana law this pea pod, tiny bundle of cells is now going to be given full burial rights. For purposes of disposal, this little package will be required to be buried or cremated. It’s the LAW.

This raises some interesting issues.

How many burials or cremations will this entail? Well, the last year I could find stats showed that abortions are up in Indiana. Close to 8,000 each year. That means 8,000 new burials. That comes to about 154 burials per week. That is a lot of cemetery plots. Tiny plots, to be sure, but still…..

Who decides whether the fetus is buried or cremated? Does the law take into account the wishes of the fetus? Some fetuses may object (if they could talk) to being buried. They might prefer cremation. Others, of a more fundamentalist persuasion, might demand to be buried. Otherwise, how could they rise from the dead in glory in the “Last Days” when all of god’s children meet with him ?

Which brings us to another issue. Baptism. Can the fetus be baptized? If so, into which religion? You might say the religion of the mother. But, obviously the mother is a slut who just killed her own fetus. Certainly she is going to hell. Why should she be able to decide? Perhaps a committee of religious leaders in the community could decide? A lottery system? Eenie-meenie-minee -mo? Or, heaven forbid, what if the woman is a Jew??!!!

Miscarriages are another issue. I mean, a woman who aborts her fetus is obviously evil. But what about the woman who miscarries? Well, now, in addition to the sorrow and pain she feels, she will be required to decide how to dispose of her potential offspring. additional pain and suffering. As well she should. After all, she should not have miscarried in the first place.  “Sorry lady, but you should not have had that diet Coke. It’s your own fault”. Lesson learned.

Interestingly enough, the law allows for mass incineration of fetuses. The health clinic can scoop a bunch of them together and burn the little guys all at once. This hardly seems appropriate. Mass graves. Mass incinerations.  Hmmmmm. What does this remind you of? Consider. Some fetuses may have names (Yes, the woman is asked whether or not she wants to name the fetus) , Some will be Jews! Some will be Muslims. Some will be Catholics. Some will be unnamed. Others will be named Roy, or Donald, Jr. or Maria Germania Cynthia Honoraria Pence. All thrown together helter skelter into one mass cremation. Awful.

What about the fetuses of our military? What if the father, for example, was in the Army or Navy? What if the father was a general? In that case, I would suggest that the 3 inch bundle of cells requires a military burial with full military honors. I am shocked that somehow the highly intelligent  members of the Indiana legislature forgot to include this in the bill. An unfortunate oversight. (Or perhaps an Obama plot?)

Let us imagine. The drummers are drumming. An honor guard carries a tiny coffin draped in a tiny American flag (made in China). The bugles blow. A tiny hole is quickly dug in the cemetery. As the tiny coffin is lowered into the tiny hole the uniformed honor guard shoots into the air. A 21 condom salute.

Isn’t that the least we can do?

 

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/28/1860923/-The-Burdens-of-Indiana-s-Fetal-Remains-Law

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/state-mandated-mourning-for-aborted-fetuses/482688/

 

 

 

 

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Filed under abortion, GOP, healthcare, Politics, Supreme Court, United States

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

High School Calendar

Two events coincided this weekend for me. One was the accusations and explanations regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his possible sexual predatory behavior when he was a young man. The other was my 50th high school reunion.

First, Mr Kavanaugh. He has been accused of attempted rape when he was drunk and in high school. The accuser will be heard next week in the Senate committee hearing. He has denied any untoward behavior. In his defense a former Republican Congressional candidate named Gina Sosa came to his defense. I guess.

“I mean, we’re talking about a 15-year-old girl, which I respect. You know, I’m a woman. I respect,” Sosa told CNN. “But we’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school with testosterone running high. Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school? Please, I would like to know.”   

http://time.com/5404108/brett-kavanaugh-sexual-assault-high-school-gina-sosa/

That got me thinking about my old high school buddies. As I said, the 50 year reunion just took place and I had not seen most of these guys in, well, 50 years. Like Brett Kavanaugh, I went to an all male Catholic High School. My class size was about 100, so we got to know each other fairly well. Now, my memory is not the greatest but I do not recall attempting to rape anyone.

As I looked around the hall at my 50th reunion I saw men who had traversed a wide variety of life paths. Ph.Ds. Scientists. Entrepreneurs. Teachers. Musicians. A whole lot of successful, fulfilled lives. Of course, I remember us all as teenagers. Goofy. Smart. Athletic. Funny. Serious. Mentally undeveloped. Full of potential.

As I looked around the room I could not imagine any of us at the age of 17. Or 27. Or 57. Any of us at any age attempting to rape a girl. Jim? Ed? Jack? Tim? Tom? Dan? Dave? Nope. Not a rapist in the group. Were we the “oddballs” of America? Unsuited to the title of “typical teenage boy”?  Should we be embarrassed by our lack of real manhood? According to Gina Sosa we were far out of the norm. I hope not. I think not.

Which leads me to another point. In the attempt to “prove” that Brett Kavanaugh did not attempt to rape this girl, he has produced a calendar. A calendar he kept as a 17 year old boy. This piece of evidence demonstrates beyond a doubt that this young man never attempted to rape anyone.  While I personally think keeping a calendar of your activities at 17 is a bit odd. So be it. What is even odder is keeping that calendar for 30 years. So be it. But, to his credit, Brett nowhere mentions that he raped anyone. A careful check of all entries and no “Attempted rape tonight” showed up anywhere. Case closed.

This line of thought lead me to investigate myself. Sure enough, in the barn in an old cardboard box covered with bat guano I found my own old high school calendar. After all, what boy would be without such a record. Just as Mr Kavanaugh is able to prove his innocence by his words, I have included some of my own entries below. Like the good judge, I am allowed to pick and choose what the people will see.

October 12. Went to party. Stood around for 3 hours. Ate cake. Went home. Read Playboy. Going to confession tomorrow.

November 7. Worked on homecoming float. Gina S . wore a tight skirt. She almost talked to me. Stayed up half the night. Going to confession tomorrow.

December 3.  Asked Gina S. for a date. She said yes. Going to see a movie tomorrow. Can’t wait. Stayed up half the night.

December 4. Got to first base with Gina S. Well, almost. Was in the batter’s box and got “hit by pitch”. Still. She said she would go out with me again. Yippeee. Going to confession tomorrow.

December 13. Out on a date with Gina S. Got to first base!!!! Then, big mistake. Tried to get to 2nd base and was picked off the bag. Thrown out of the game early. Told me she would call me if she wanted to see me again.

April 1. Gina S called!!!! I got excited. Then she said “April Fool”. Still, just having her call made me think of her. Going to confession tomorrow.

May 20. Got together with 8 of my buddies and gang raped a 12 year old virgin. Now we are real men!!! Gina S. called and said she now considers me “normal”. Wants to go steady!!

All I can say is: Boys will be boys. And the boys I went to school with became men. Perhaps Gina Sosa needs to hang out with a better quality of “boy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

Gays: Religious Freedom To Marry?

The Supreme Court will decide later this year whether or not the government of an individual state can prevent homosexuals from marrying. No matter where you stand on the issue, recent decisions  would seem to render any negative decision by the SCOTUS as a moot point.

If the SCOTUS decides that states can interfere with the rights of adults to marry whom they choose they will be facing a problem that they, themselves, have created.

Recent decisions, (Hobby Lobby,  for example) have made it clear that religious beliefs take precedence over the law. Irregardless of how absolutely insane that concept is, the SCOTUS has judged it so. If your religious beliefs are opposed to paying full medical benefits  to your employees, so be it. Don’t pay them. This Pandora’s Box will be used over and over again to avoid various laws.

Which brings us to homosexual marriage.

Currently there are a number of religious groups which do marry homosexuals. And more bless homosexual unions.  For example, the United Church of Christ performs and recognizes gay marriage. Some Quaker meeting houses do, some don’t. The Unitarian Universalist Church performs and recognizes gay marriage. Rabbis of Reformed Judaism perform and recognize gay marriage, as do some conservative Jewish synagogues.

This raises the question. Can the SCOTUS on one hand claim that a private business like Hobby Lobby has religious rights, while denying religious rights to legitimate religious organizations? Can the SCOTUS , on one hand claim that private businesses and individuals can evade the law while on the other refusing to allow churches to practice freely based on religious beliefs?

I would think that the next step, if the SCOTUS decides to deny individuals the right to marry, would be for those individuals and their churches to return to the courts under the auspices of religious freedom. This would be especially true in many of the states that have passed “Religious Freedom” laws directed specifically at undermining gay rights. Those laws may, in fact, be used to assure the religious rights of gay Americans.

Can those decisions and laws now be used as a doubled edged sword to guarantee those same individuals the right to be married in their churches and synagogues. If there is any logic to SCOTUS decisions they will decide that preventing people from marrying is a violation of the First Amendment and freedom of religion. A right they CLAIM to hold so dear.

We shall see.

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Filed under Christianity, Churches, Conservatives, Constitution, gay marriage, gay rights, Hobby Lobby, homosexual, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

Contestant #2: Dr. Rand Paul’s Prescription: Take A Vague and See Me in the Morning

(This is the second in a series of biased reports about the potential candidates for the presidency. As these giants among men proclaim their desires to be the most powerful human being on the planet I will attempt to file a short report on each).

Rand Paul, son of former Texas congressman Ron Paul, announced today that he was willing to serve as president of the US. A major surprise to all Buddhist monks still alive in Tibet. To anyone else, not so much.

As with all candidates the best thing to do is to start with their own websites. On his website Dr. Paul stresses the fact that he is a doctor. A doctor of ophthalmology and that he does good works. That is very noble. And humbling. But for some reason in his bio he fails to mention his board certification. Dr Paul was certified once to practice his “doctoring” by the ABO (American Board of Ophthalmology). But something happened. And he let that certification lapse. So, he was then certified by the NBO (National Board of Ophthalmology), a group NOT recognized by the (ABMS) American Board of Medical Specialties, the national group that certifies the legitimacy of boards. Why not? It was just a board made up by some doctors. UH. Actually, Rand Paul was the president of the group that certified Rand Paul, with Kelly Ashby Paul (Rand’s wife) as vice-president of the group and Rand Paul’s father-in-law as secretary. But, he WAS certified to practice, at least by his kinfolk. (For some reason that NBO was dissolved in 2011).

So, what would a Rand Paul Presidency look like?

Rand Paul’s’ website (www.randpaul.com) has about 16 issues. I will focus on only 4. You can read the rest. Good luck.

Sanctity of Life. Rand believes in the sanctity of life. Well. That is good news! He defines “life” as existing at conception. He says that American women have murdered over 50,000,000 CHILDREN since Roe v Wade. (Did I forget to mention that he is doctor, yet he thinks an embryo is a child?). He opposes all abortions. Period. He thinks states should be able to make any laws they want in this regard . So, I guess you might say that Rand is not a real fan of the US Constitution. A Dr. Rand Paul presidency would not enforce Roe v Wade. I think. He is vague on that point.

Health Care. Dr. Paul wants to repeal Obamcare. And replace it with…. what we had before Obamacare…only better. A market driven system. He knows that a market driven system works because…uh…it left 40,000,000 Americans (real people this time, not embryos) without health insurance. He is rather vague on details. But a Dr. Rand Paul presidency would put the patient first, by eliminating the ACA.

Taxes. President Dr Paul hates taxes. He will institute a 17% tax rate for all businesses and people. His plan is called the EZ Plan. It is EZ to understand because he has no other details. It is EZ Vague. Would current tax breaks for corporations remain? Would breaks for agribusiness remain? Personal deductions? Long on vague, short on details. But, the plan does call for the elimination of Social Security taxes for the middle and lower classes (Not sure where the income levels fall on middle class. That part is…uh…vague). So, no more payments would be going into Social Security from younger workers. So, depending on his exemption plan, a Dr Rand Paul presidency would see a significant decrease in taxes for the super rich. Not so much for the poor.

Which leads us to….
Social Security.
Dr President Leader Rand Paul has a plan for Social Security.

He wants to fix Social Security by increasing the retirement age and means testing. OK. I’ll bite the means testing. I agree that millionaires like John McCain should not be dipping into the pot. Postponing retirement? Doesn’t that just prevent younger workers from getting started? This would apply only to younger workers, so us old fogeys would still get our benefits. …But…wait…In Dr President Excellency Paul’s TAXES plan (see above) he called for eliminating billions of dollars in payments to Social Security. How does that work? Billions less coming in but more going out? Does Mr Dr His Holiness Paul know how Social Security even works? Does he know that payments made today go to today’s retirees? By what magic will SS take in billions less and pay out more? THIS is how he “fixes” Social Security? With magic?

Dr Paul’s lack of real solutions comes through loud and clear. He attacks the “Washington Insiders”, of which he is a part, but offers no real alternatives. Lots of “plans” and ideas and slogans.

All in all, Dr Mr Rand seems to have the same “prescription” for America as other GOPers. Not all that different. Gives homage to the religious right. Wants freedom from paying taxes but not freedom for women to control their own bodies. Has magical thinking when it comes to Social Security financing. A man who will keep it vague in hopes of not exposing the shallowness of his thought processes. Or, who has a real agenda he refuses to share.

Once, in order to be “certified” to practice medicine Rand Paul simply created his own certification board. I suspect the only way the doctor will ever be POTUS is if he “creates” his own country. Then his wife could be vice president again.

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Why I Like Mitt

Like everyone else on the political left I enjoy poking fun at Mitt Romney . He is out of touch. Was born into great wealth. Hides his money overseas. Takes seriously a religion that believes in magic underwear. (Which is really no sillier than any religion when you think about it). So, I surprised myself when I realized I wanted Mitt to run for POTUS again.

No. Not so Hilary Clinton could waltz to an easy victory. No. Not because I want to see him and his family humiliated again. But because, when looking at the rest of the GOP field, Mitt stands tall.

As in 2012 the GOP faithful have their perennial candidates. People like Huckabee, Perry, Santorum, maybe Newt. Along with a newer breed of crazy. Cruz, Rubio, Rand Paul, Ben Carson. A group of wannabees that make a Star Trek convention look like a royal wedding. None of these candidates has a chance of getting nominated or elected. But they all have a financial stake in running for POTUS.

Running for POTUS in modern times has become a very lucrative business. You fly around the country. Spout whatever comes to mind. And get hollow-headed folks to send your PACs loads of dough. Money that can be used for anything you want.

Take a look at Sideshow Sarah Palin for example. She takes in millions and spends a very small fraction on helping candidates get elected. The overwhelming majority of her unregulated PAC income is spent on her travel, wardrobe and vacations. All legal. A family slush fund. So, running for POTUS is a good gig. The fools and their money are easily parted.

But there is a second group of politicians who actually do want to be POTUS and have a chance of doing so. That would be Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. So ask yourself, of those three, who would you rather see sitting in the Oval Office?

Christie may very well self-destruct. But don’t bet on it. The GOP has been known to back criminals and bullies. Tricky Dick, anyone. Christie has a lot of baggage, to be sure. His misuse of the billions set aside for the train tunnel to NYC, which never materialized. His handling of the Sandy funds , some of which still have not been distributed. His costing the state of NJ millions of dollars by holding a special election for the vacant US Senate seat rather than waiting a few weeks and holding that election on election day. He was afraid that the votes for popular Democratic Senate candidate Booker would cut into his own election win. His hiring of a group of folks now under indictment. His vacating the job of governor for 40% of the time to spend it courting GOP votes across the nation. Again, at great expense to the people of New Jersey. Other GOP candidates throwing mud at Christie will be easy. He lives in a cesspool of his own making.

That leaves Jeb Bush. A thought. No GOP candidate NOT named Bush has won the presidency since 1984. From 1980 through 2007 only ONE time has a Bush NOT been on the national ticket. The GOP has been run as a Bush family legacy. A divine right. Which means the Bushes have plenty of money and support from the more traditional GOP money makers. While Jeb himself has plenty of “character” issues that has never stopped a family member from advancing. His illegal removal of tens of thousands of voters from the Florida rolls prior to the 2000 election all but assured his brother the presidency. Even then it took 5 members of the SCOTUS to close the deal. (Two of those justices voting to put GW on the throne had family members working directly for the Bushes) And, like the rest of the family, he does no real “public service” other than line his own pockets. But that will not be a hindrance to the oil industry. Compared to his brother he is smooth and smart and knows how to avoid saying dumb things. Beware.

That leaves us with Mitt Romney. Despite the fact that Romney was crushed in the election of 2012 in the electoral college by a vote of 332-206. But, switch the votes of Florida, Ohio and Virginia and that race becomes an almost dead heat. Add in Wisconsin and Michigan, which now have GOP governors, and it is Romney who wins big. And he did get 61,000,000 Americans to pull the lever for him. So, I understand that Romney thinks he has a chance to win this time around.

But what kind of POTUS would Romney be? Unlike the first group of idiots he is not an ideologue. He does not subscribe to any narrow religious worldview that he seeks to impose on others. Be real. The Church of Later Day Saints has always been as much a business enterprise as a religion. In the last 150 years it has not hesitated to change “god-given” doctrine for political or economic gain. (Polygamy, role of blacks comes to mind).

And unlike Christie or Bush he does not seem tied to special interests. I know he flip flops on some issues and does his share of pandering, but he is basically a business man. A manager. A bottom line guy. Which is why he supported “Romneycare” in Massachusetts. It was the practical thing to do. It made economic sense. And he took federal tax dollars to save the private Olympic games. Socialist when it suits him.

I can see President Christie going off the deep end with his “tough guy” persona and destroying any international cooperation we now enjoy. I can see Christie attacking any newsperson or citizen who dares suggest he is wrong. Christie surrounds himself with yes men who are willing to do his dirty work. What kind of cabinet would he hire? Any independent thinkers? Not the kind of guy I want as POTUS.

I can see President Jeb Bush continuing the family tradition of speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. And blatantly lying with that sincere look on his face; a family gift. I can see Jeb and his people using the same nasty campaign tactics his dad and brother used. The “Willie Horton” ads. The McCain has a black baby smear. The Swiftboating of a soldier who fought in the war the Bush brothers carefully avoided. I think the family mudhole has no bottom when it comes to slinging. Another Bush would mean a major step backward for all but the oil industry. The Saudis, of course, would be gleeful.

I just can’t envision a President Romney doing those things. I think he is educable. I think he is smart. I think he wants to succeed. And I think he has a pragmatic sense that would not allow him to avoid real domestic problems once he was in a position of power. And would not allow him to get involved in the foolish hawkishness that has become a badge of honor for the GOP.

Would I vote for Romney? Heavens no. I don’t agree with him on many, if any, issues. But does he scare me? No, again. Not like Cruz or Bush or Christie or Paul or Huckabee. So, I think Mitt should run again. Maybe three times IS the charm. Maybe not. But at least sane citizens wouldn’t have to lose any sleep over the person sleeping in the White House.

What do you think? Does a Romney presidency scare you?

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The Liberals Are Coming! The Liberals Are Coming!

A Poem. With apologies to…well…everyone.

 

The Liberals Are Coming

 

Listen My children and who shall hear

The whining and crying of those who fear

Who dread the idea of rights for gays

And dream of a past of more bigoted days.

 

“The liberals are coming” is what they say

“The liberals are coming to take rights away”

“Gay liberals are coming to marry our sons”

“The liberals are coming to confiscate guns”

 

They ride through the internet,  fearful and mad

And watch Fox and Friends (which really is sad)

They worry that folks colored black, brown and red

Might all vote for Dems, a day they all dread.

 

Lockstep behind pundits their minds go a sail-in

Listening to Rush, Ann Coulter and Palin

Worshiping at the great temple of Cruz

Fearful of Muslims, agnostics and Jews

 

They see immigrants taking all jobs that are fun

Like picking tomatoes in the hot summer sun

And cutting up chickens and waiting at tables

(For non-union wages) and cleaning out stables.

 

But that half-breed from Kenya is the one they hate most

A communist-socialist they’d like to roast

That Marxist purveyor of health care for all

By tearing him down, they think themselves tall.

 

So afraid of the thought that workers have rights

If they could they would make every issue a fight

Compromise is a blasphemy they can’t conceive

For God speaks to them (or so they believe)

 

One wonders what happens to warp little brains

And cause them to focus on hatred and pain

See commies and Marxists behind every tree

And liberals plotting to “get stuff for free” ?

 

Well, the liberals aren’t coming,  so nothing to fear

The liberals aren’t coming, we’re already here

Over 200 years now and still doing fine

Slowly making life better,  one law at a time

 

Some “liberal” ideas that have taken hold?

Everyone voting. No slaves being sold.

Cleaning the water. Cleaning the air.

Minimum wages. Trials that are fair.

 

Medicare. Head Start. The old EPA.

(Well,  that one was Nixon’s…a “liberal” today)

Women have rights to their own personhood.

Social Security. See, it’s all good.

 

Let Fox-nurtured phobics keep crying in pain

With arguments silly and dumb and inane

And when they keep screaming and howling “Impeach!”

Remind them it was “liberals” who gave them free speech.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, Education, Elections, Environment, healthcare, homosexual, Immigration, Neoconservative, Republicans, Supreme Court

Corporate Rights #3: The Hobby Lobby Fact Sidestep

A third aspect of the Hobby Lobby case bears mention. This is covered quite extensively in a March 21, 2014 article from Mother Jones (Are You there God? It’s Me, Hobby Lobby by Stephanie Mencimer). The article points out a couple of problems with the Green family claims. I call them Fact Sidesteps. (Picture a Vaudevillian with a cane shuffling off stage right)

Fact Sidestep 1. Hobby LObby claims as fact that it has longstanding, strong religious objections to covering IUDs and Plan B contraceptives. But, in fact,  Hobby Lobby HAD been covering these two contraceptives BEFORE the ACA was passed and implemented. The questions becomes: How sincere are the religious beliefs of this corporation/family? Did they have a new revelation from god AFTER the ACA was approved? Nice little shuffle.

Fact Sidestep 2: Hobby Lobby wants to deny covering these contraceptives as part of an overall health plan for their employees because they oppose these contraceptives. Yet, their own pension fund is INVESTED in these contraceptive manufacturers. Their argument could well be that since the pensions funds are part of a group, they had no choice but to invest in them as part of a group investment. So, they MAKE money off these companies (against their own religious beliefs) but refuse to SPEND money to cover these contraceptives. Interesting shuffle.

Fact Sidestep 3: Some commenters  (on Yahoo) have insisted that Hobby Lobby has no choice but to invest in these companies because they are part of a set groups of investments. Yet, at least since 1994 there have been specific funds for “anti-contraceptive” fundamentalist Christians to invest in. Evidently, the Greens did  not find those funds as profitable. Keep a shufflin’ right off stage.

All in all,  this corporate sidestep should be seen for what it is. Using a religious argument to attack the ACA…and save a few bucks . If “sincerely-held” beliefs require “actions”, the Green family/corporation fails the religious test. But, the Roberts court has not been one to let a little shuffling get in the way of the majority decisions.

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Corporate Rights #2: The Hobby Lobby Religion

Central to the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court is whether a corporation can exercise the right to religious freedom. And thereby excuse itself from laws it finds religiously offensive.

We have a long history of allowing religious institutions and sometime even individuals exemptions from the law. Or parts of the law. For example, the Affordable Care Act exempts religious employers from paying for health insurance costs related to some areas of contraception and abortion. The principle, not really tested yet in court in the case of the ACA, being that legitimate religious beliefs trump this part of the law. While I personally do not agree that any institution or individual is above the law, the Congress disagrees. Perhaps the lobbying power and financial clout of non-tax paying religious organizations may be part of the reason for this exemption. At any rate, it is there. It exists. It is legal.

But other times the courts have ruled that certain practices of religious groups are not above the law. Polygamy, for example, was considered essential for the leaders of the Church of Latter Day saints. But the government ruled otherwise. Even though it was, at the time, a central doctrine of the faith. The Mormons believed in it. The US government said “No”.

And no one would argue that child marriage, slavery, human sacrifice  or actions which obviously harm individuals should be protected, no matter how sincere the beliefs of the religious group that holds them. So, the courts have ruled that religious freedom has  limits, as does  any right.

Individuals who may object to joining the military can apply for conscientious objector status, which precludes them from taking part in combat. But even in this case, it does  not exempt them from military service. They are given other jobs to do. So,  in that sense, they are not exempt.

What about Hobby Lobby? It is not a religion. It is not a church. It is a junk store. It does business in the United States as a multi-million (perhaps billion dollar) corporate entity. Not a mom and pop operation. Not your local Jewish deli. It is a corporate chain, like a MacDonalds or a Dollar Store. What is it’s claim to a religious exemption?

The family that owns Hobby Lobby has sincere religious beliefs. As do the owners of thousands of businesses. And the CEO  of Exxon  or GE or Boeing.  But Hobby Lobby is claiming that the beliefs of a few people, because they are owners of a business enterprise,  somehow allow them to impose their terms on a secular labor contract. While the law says that any business must provide certain things…overtime pay, safe working conditions, minimum wages and now minimum health care benefits, Hobby Lobby is claiming that it does  not have to  abide by those laws. While it uses a religious argument, the actual substance of the case is about money. After all, no one is forcing the Green family to pay for anything out of their own pockets. They have the legal protections of a corporation, but do not want to fulfill the responsibilities of a corporation under the ACA.

The workers earn benefits. Can a corporation limit or reduce or deny benefits based on some new and radical idea of “corporate religion”? If so,  any reasonable person can follow the thread and see where it leads. Any corporate lawyer worth his salary will be codifying “religious beliefs” for Wendy’s and GM before the ink dries on a favorable court decision.

Of course a corporation cannot claim religious freedom to avoid labor laws. A corporation is an artificial , man-made legal construct.  Can anyone claim with a straight face that the original intent of the Bill of Rights was to shield business entities from the powers given Congress in Article 1 ?

Perhaps. After all, some members of this court have already turned the Constitution and themselves  into a logical pretzel with the Bush v Gore decision and the Citizens United decision. While both were obviously politically motivated the majority managed to mangle the interpretation to mean “whatever I say it means”.

So, while an honest interpretation of the law (which already exempts religious groups) and the Constitution would seem to indicate a 9-0 decision against Hobby Lobby, there is no telling how far some members will go in their homage to corporate power. We shall see. Just as Citizens United has turned our elections into a livestock auction,  (“twenty dollar, eighty dollar, five thousand dollar, two million dollar…SOLD, to the two brothers in the back of the room slinking in the corner”) this court decision could eviscerate any worker protection and undercut Article 1 of the Constitution. Believe it.

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Corporate Rights#1:The Sexual Deviants at Hobby Lobby

Quick background. The company  called Hobby Lobby,  owned by a family called the Greens,  does not want to pay for part of the health care for some of it’s workers. This is basic preventative health care covered , by law,  under the ACA. They don’t like some of the forms of birth control, which they claim are abortions. While the medical and scientific evidence refutes that claim, that is not the point.

The point is that the Greens want to exempt themselves from the law based on their personal  religious beliefs . This raises a number of issues, only one of which I will touch on today. There are other issues to be examined at a later date. But today the issue is the Green support for “sexual  deviance”.

Are the owners of Hobby Lobby trying to force deviant sexual practices on their employees? And should a company be able to encourage their employees to engage in sexually deviant behavior, directly or indirectly?

Let me explain.  The Greens oppose the idea of abortion. They also oppose having to pay for any contraceptive that they consider to be abortion inducing .  They reserve the right to define the drug and then refuse to  pay insurance costs associated with their findings. It should be noted that at least some of the contraceptives they find to be abortion inducing are not . But the court did  not delve into the scientific validity of their claims, only their genuinely held beliefs. So be it.  Some folks believe that dinosaurs walked with man. So be it.

So,  what the Greens are saying is that if their employees participate in sexual activity that could lead to pregnancy, the Greens oppose providing the means to  prevent or abort that pregnancy. Keep following this. So, if an employee of Hobby Lobby and her husband have sexual relations in which the husband carefully (or not so carefully) inserts his penis into the employee’s vagina, then the Greens get upset. They will not pay for certain contraceptives that might lead to the sexual act NOT producing a bouncing bundle of joy. So, the Greens are telling their employees that every personal sex act between a husband and wife is now the business of the Green family, because they employ one of the parties at their store. OK.

Oddly, however, the Greens are actually using an economic incentive to encourage couples to engage in non-copulatory sexual behavior. Oral sex will not lead to pregnancy. The Greens are encouraging it. Anal sex will not lead to pregnancy. The Greens are saying  to their employees. Go For It. Homosexual activity will not result  in pregnancy. To the  Greens,  that is A-OKAY in their book. I must suppose that bestiality must be number one in the “Hobby Lobby Guide to Employee Sex Practices”. After all,  the ACA does not cover vet bills.

So, we must ask ourselves. Are the Greens,  under the guise of  religious “freedom” actually encouraging their employees to engage in all kinds of sexual activity. Do they get a vicarious thrill from the thought of their workers going home and engaging in a variety of sexual practices, many of which were illegal only a few decades ago ? Does it excite their corporate religious fervor ? We cannot know and I am only asking. I am not sure where this will lead, but I suspect in the end it will unravel as a communist plot to ensure deviant sexual practices are mandated in America. Obama’s fault. I can feel it coming.

Next up, another essay on the corporate rights.

 

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Filed under ACA, healthcare, homosexual, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Religion, Supreme Court

Scalia and the Broccoli Conundrum

 

According to the transcript of the Affordable Care Act debate before the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia used broccoli in one of his analogies. Specifically, if the government can force a person to buy health insurance, couldn’t the government force a person to eat broccoli. I think this will go down in the annals of Supreme Court history as the “Broccoli Conundrum”.
I will be the first to admit that I have not read the entire transcript of the arguments, so I may be taking his statement out of context. But that is acceptable. I simply follow Mr. Scalia who has admitted he has not read the law he will be rendering judgment on. So, following his lead, I will limit my comments and analysis to the broccoli.
His analogy was a simple one. Worthy of any 9th grade social studies student. Clear. Uncomplicated. Unfounded. And missing the point entirely. Let us examine.
He compares a requirement to pay a fee or tax to the force feeding of a specific food. Shoving something down someone’s throat is hardly analogous to charging a fee. Yet, giving Antonin the benefit of the doubt, let’s examine this idea. He has drawn the conclusion that if the government can force one to pay a fee for insurance, it can then force any behavior. As I said, not bad for a 9th grader. Not good for someone who fancies himself a legal scholar.
One weak point in the analogy is obvious. While the government mandates that an individual purchase insurance, there is no mandate to actually use the insurance. There is no physical coercion. No penalty for not seeing a doctor. No one is forced to have an operation. It is simply a financial burden.
The government is replete with similar financial burdens. For example, I am forced to pay taxes or fees for the interstate highway system, parks, dams, bridges and other government enterprises. The government does not force me to use the highways. I may never directly benefit from or use these, but I am required to pay my fair share. I am also required to pay Medicare and Medicaid taxes, though I am not a recipient of those services.
I am forced to subsidize the oil and other energy industries, the military, churches and other non-profits and a host of others who receive tax breaks. I make up the difference. And receive no direct benefit.
I am not complaining. I fully understand (as our imaginary 9th grader has yet to comprehend) that as a member of society we all need to pull our weight. All of us. And each of us pays fees or taxes for things which we do not approve.
Back to broccoli. Can the government force me to eat broccoli? In a sense, yes. The government can force feed individuals, against their will. And if I fail to provide food for my children, the government can force me to do so, or take away the kids. In fact, should I choose to die by starvation , the government will not allow it. It will demand that I be force fed against my will. So, in that sense, the government does have a right to force me to eat my broccoli.
Today we have governments that are forcing women to undergo vaginal probes. Forcing employees to give blood for drug testing. Forcing men and women to take alcohol tests. Even force men and women to go overseas to fight and die. The list is pretty long. And I have yet to hear Antonin utter complaints about those intrusions.
So, Justice Scalia’s simplistic analogy falls flat. The answer, Antonin, is “Yes”. We live in a society. We share the fruits, we share the burdens. The government has , for many years, forced us to do things far more personal and more intimate than another tax.
So, Tony, remember what your mother said. “Eat your broccoli, it’s good for you”. And pay your taxes.

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