Joe Biden? I don’t think so

Dems and progressive Americans need to move on from Biden. With him, they are trying to beat Trump with a man who is, at best, a C+ centrist. He promises too much “business as usual,” minus only the worst of Trump. He is weak on environment. He will fail to take/support the serious steps needed to forestall an environmental Armageddon. He is either tolerant of white supremacists, or a coatroom supporter. He is either uninclined or afraid to ruffle the feathers of the wealthy oligarchs. The more we hear from him, the more we learn about him, the stronger grows my belief that while he is not a ‘bad’ guy, he is certainly no beacon of progress. Underlining perhaps all of the above, the more we see of Joe, the more we realize he is no intellectual, no great thinker. He is the kind of man who may be qualified to follow the lead established by such a person, but not qualified to be such a one.

Joe Biden is in no way fit to lead America down the path it must follow post-Trump. With Joe Biden as President, America will spend four or eight years failing to gather any momentum on environmental salvation (if that is even possible at this point), equal rights, the destruction of the middle class, or beating back the surge of racists and extreme religious cultists empowered by Trump. He was effective as Barack Obama’s Sancho. He is, himself, no Don Quixote.

Joe Biden offers America neither a Kennedy nor a Johnson, an FDR nor an Obama. He represents a centrist compromise that tends to teeter toward the right. His history is too shady with too many questionable comments and stances, and “…no longer that person” goes only so far. He is in no way the strong progressive leader our country needs at this point in history.

How Much Trouble?

I recently saw an opinion piece musing whether Americans know how much trouble they’re in. Read on. This is how much. I read this morning that Nancy Pelosi, who is reluctant to impeach, appears all-in on issuing contempt citations to Trump’s people who do not comply with subpoenas. Sounds good, right?  Yay. Go, Nancy. Rah rah rah.

But wait a minute. I managed to control my enthusiasm and stop doing cartwheels long enough to look up just how that whole contempt of Congress thing works. I needed to read this article about contempt of Congress in Wikipedia twice to be sure I understood it.

How the House enforces a contempt citation, From Wikipedia:

“Following a contempt citation, the presiding officer of the chamber is instructed to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia;[15] according to the law it is the “duty” of the U.S. Attorney to refer the matter to a grand jury for action. However, while the law places the duty on the U.S. Attorney to impanel a grand jury for action, some proponents of the unitary executive theory argue that the Congress cannot properly compel the U.S. Attorney to take this action against the Executive Branch, asserting that the U.S. Attorney is a member of the Executive Branch who ultimately reports only to the President and that compelling the U.S. Attorney amounts to compelling the President[citation needed]. They argue that to allow Congress to force the President to take action against a subordinate following his directives would be a violation of the separation of powers and infringe on the power of the Executive branch. The legal basis for this position, they contend, can be found in Federalist 49, in which James Madison wrote “The several departments being perfectly co-ordinate by the terms of their common commission, none of them, it is evident, can pretend to an exclusive or superior right of settling the boundaries between their respective powers.” This approach to government is commonly known as “departmentalism” or “coordinate construction”.[citation needed]
Others argue that Article II of the Constitution requires the President to execute the law, such law being what the lawmaker (e.g. Congress, in the case of statutory contempt) says it is (per Article I). The Executive Branch cannot either define the meaning of the law (such powers of legislation being reserved to Congress) or interpret the law (such powers being reserved to the several Federal Courts). They argue that any attempt by the Executive to define or interpret the law would be a violation of the separation of powers; the Executive may only—and is obligated to—execute the law consistent with its definition and interpretation; and if the law specifies a duty on one of the President’s subordinates, then the President must “take care” to see that the duty specified in the law is executed. To avoid or neglect the performance of this duty would not be faithful execution of the law, and would thus be a violation of the separation of powers, which the Congress and the Courts have several options to remedy.
The criminal offense of “contempt of Congress” sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not more than $100,000.[16]”

So the bottom line is that if Congress holds any of these people in contempt, they must instruct the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to convene a Grand Jury.
*Guess who the U.S. Attorney works for? Righhht.
*Guess who is ultimately responsible for making the U.S. Attorney do this? Righhht again.
So the House tells the U.S. Attorney to convene a Grand Jury. But that individual works for Donald Trump. The task of making it happen, or not happen, ultimately rests with Donald Trump.

The further we are dragged down this road into full fledged fascism—and extreme lunatic theocracy—the more I realize that the founding fathers, in twisting themselves into pretzels trying to ensure that no branch of the government trilogy ‘had an unfair advantage’ over the other two, created instead an almost perfect recipe for a person exactly like Donald Trump, with the Senate in his pocket, to become a dictator while the House dithers and scrambles about mice in a maze without an exit.

In order to get the money to build their houses, the three little pigs had to float a loan from the wolf.

How much trouble are we in? As many of us have long been saying, one whole hell of a lot.

# # #

House Majority Leader threatening to hold all Trump allies who defy subpoenas in contempt of Congress: ‘This is a huge cover-up’

 

Thank you Nancy Pelosi — NOT

Like it or not, the simple fact is that Donald Trump is proving Congress to be as impotent as a eunuch. You’ve probably already read, or heard, that now he has ordered Hope Hicks not to turn over documents to Congressional investigators, even though, as one legal expert said, he has no authority to do so since she no longer works for him.
     So far—and this is only a sampling—Trump has refused to show his tax returns, refused to conform to the emoluments clause, made every possible attempt to obstruct the Mueller investigation, lied to Congress (and the people) time after time after time, refused to obey subpoenas and told everyone in the administration to do the same thing, kidnapped thousands of children, favored foreign dictators over the American people, etc.
     The Senate, of course, is controlled by the Republican party, which has sold any genuine morality it ever possessed in order to genuflect for Trump. But what about the House of Representatives, now under Democrat control?
     It turns out that Nancy Pelosi is the fly in Sam Houston’s buttermilk.  After standing up to Trump about funding for his wall, she has become indecisive and—something we would never see from her—frightful. She is afraid to impeach. Whereas Mitch McConnell runs the Senate like a son of Heinrich Himmler, Pelosi wrings her hands and tries to say meaningful things while not allowing the House to take any concrete action about Trump’s multitudinous dictatorial acts. Day by day she behaves less like the leader of the very body which is supposed to provide oversight on the Executive, and more, much more, like Margaret Mitchell’s Melodie Hamilton.
     I and many others have said before, here and everywhere we can raise our voices, that Donald Trump is leading the United States straight down the road to a full fledged fascistic dictatorship, ala Adolf Hitler. The Republican party is riding his coattails in hopes of achieving what is, in effect, a coup. Look at McConnell’s iron fisted patently immoral manipulation of the entire legislative process in the name of stacking every federal court possible, not just with Republicans, but with conservatives so far to the right, both politically and religiously, that they qualify as cultists.
     Seventy-five percent of America fidgets. We scream and wring our hands while Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House cower behind procedure and fear of making a misstep.  We the people are left bemoan the loss of liberties and basic rights, one by one, group by group: LGBTQ Americans because they “are different;” progressives and the ‘educated elite,’ because they are the dreaded “socialists,” Christians who don’t believe the same demented way as evangelicals; anyone who would threaten the greedy power mongers.
     But short of armed revolution, that seventy-five percent is helpless, dependent on the separation of powers which the forefathers built into the Constitution but didn’t build well enough. Seventy-five percent of America is steadily slipping under the jackboots of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rabid minority made up of religious and social cultists and corporate controlled rapscallion Republicans no longer possessing any moral compass.
     The 25% is winning, and turning America into a fascist regime shaped by theocratic lunatics and greedy oligarchs, one of whom defiles the highest seat in government just as Hitler once did in Germany. The election of 2020 is too far away and too tenuous. If the collapse of our Republic isn’t already complete by then, it surely will be a certainty if Trump cheats his way into re-election.
     And why shouldn’t he? The system of checks and balances intended to prevent what we are seeing has so far proven completely ineffective. He lies, and defies anyone to do anything about it. He breaks the law, and dares anyone to stop him. He kidnaps children and says “So what.” And he gets away with it. Every. Time. Because half of the legislature is in on the takeover, and the other half is afraid.
     The Republic is falling, and it is as much the fault of the cowardly defenders as of the aggressors. If we are waiting for the Nancy Pelosi led Democratic House to save us, we might as well start shopping for white flags.

About Those New Abortion Laws

blog date 05252019

SO, let’s talk about this abortion issue, and clarify a few things. Extreme new anti-abortion legislation has become law, or is moving in that direction in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and several other ‘conservative’ states. These make no exception for rape or incest, and mandate that children as young as twelve be forced to carry their rape/incestual pregnancy to full term. Worse, they give the rapist—both street criminal and incestual variety—co-parenting rights. Punishment is focused not on the rapist, but on the female victim, regardless of age or circumstances. Abortion is punishable by life imprisonment or even death.

Now think about this for a moment. A twelve-year-old girl is raped, then required to carry the baby to term, and the rapist is given co-parenting rights. This has already happened. If the child undergoes an abortion, she can be sentenced to death or to spending the rest of her life —from the age of twelve—in prison, while her rapist is awarded full parenting rights. And these laws are passed by people in the name of, believe it or not, Christianity, of being pro-life.

Oh, and by the bye, these laws are also anti-birth control.

Here’s the skinny, folks. These laws are about at pro-life as Hitler was, or Donald Trump is a humanitarian. Let’s look at the ways.

First, a law that respects the life of a child but not the life of the mother is not “pro-life.”

Second, any law that bestows legality on a rapist, whether street criminal or incestual, while denying it to the victim, is abhorrent, morally, ethically, religiously, and in terms of plain common sense. It is insane. It is a law in support of lawlessness. It is conspiracy in support of male supremacy and denial of female legitimacy. It is an aggressive attack upon females. It is repugnant to any reasoning human being. According to the Bible, (which these people use as their justification), woman was created from Adam’s rib, indicating that she was to walk side-by-side with him. The people who pass these laws would have us believe that woman was created to lie beneath man as an inferior being, suitable only for carrying his sperm.

Look. No rational human being likes abortion. The so-called Christians pushing these laws seem to think that half the women in the country are chafing at the bit to have sexual romps and then visit their doctor for a convenient abortion. That not only isn’t true, it’s something that none of us would approve of. Undergoing an abortion is a terrible experience. Ask any doctor or any woman who has had one. Abortions are emergency procedures. Women are in no way lining up to get one for the joy of it.

Abortions are—and should be—performed only in extreme circumstances. You want to make them illegal? Here’s what a reasonable approach might look like.

  1. Do not try to criminalize birth control.
  2. Prohibit abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. In these cases, the decision must be left up to the mother.
  3. If you want to encourage women of legal age to carry an unwanted pregnancy from rape and incest to term, help them, instead of threatening them. Establish a program that will cover their medical costs with top quality care, and provide both for health & psychological counseling during the pregnancy as well as post-partum care, in addition to arrangements for adoption of the baby after it arrives. And remember, the final decision will rest with the mother. A note here concerning these recent laws specifically: In my considered opinion, any man who would require a girl of twelve, who has been raped, to carry that child to term can be of far greater use to society by finding a high, sheer cliff, then jumping off of it.
  4. Respect medical science. Refer to #1 above. Eggs and sperm may be alive within the body, but they do not create human life until they have come together. Birth control is the best way to prevent abortion.
  5. Prevent rapists and incestual predators from receiving any parental rights whatsoever. That is just plain stupid. That’s like giving Bonnie and Clyde the combination the bank vaults.

As much as I would like to think that the genesis of these laws is a genuine concern for the life that is developing in a woman’s womb, I can’t help but take note of members, male members, of the “pro-life” community who proclaim that a woman is no more than a vessel, with no legitimacy of her own, or the Republican congressman who punched his wife in the face because she didn’t undress fast enough for sex. It’s difficult not to consider that those on the far right have little respect for women in general, who I have no doubt whatsoever would love to create a society like that in Margaret Atwood’s A HANDMAID’S TALE,

I doubt that any of the Draconian laws currently being passed will survive a court test. One at least will surely reach the Supreme Court, where they all should be knocked down. I worry, though, now that Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have created a SCOTUS with a majority of extreme right-wing judges. We shall see.

Dear Christians, try being Christ-like

Here’s a modest proposal for Christians. Since the whole foundation for Christianity is the Christ child, the Messiah, the actual son of God, accept the fact that his words carry greater weight than everything else in your Bible. Jesus literally speaks on direct behalf of his father, and his father is God. His words, and only his Words, come straight from God.
   Therefore, simplify your religion to what is really critically important about it. The message God’s son brought to humans. Throw away everything in your book that comes from anyone other than Jesus. The Old Testament, the New Testament, Genesis. Revelations. everything that was not an utterance, a teaching, from Jesus.
   Dump everything that came from people who “claimed” to speak for God. They were merely expressing a human opinion, preference or prejudice.
Then try living your lives according to the teachings that came from the actual son of God
 
Question:
   I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard Christians say that only one perfect man ever existed, and HE was crucified for it.
   So why do you keep living according to the hateful prejudices and teachings of other imperfect and sinful humans? Forget everyone from Abraham to Paul and Isaiah and every other human who added their own personal and prejudiced thoughts to that book.
   Live according to the teachings of your Messiah, the actual son of God. The foundation of your religion.
   And while you’re at it, turn off all of those idiot television pastors padding their pockets by preying on your nasty prejudices and pretending to know what God thinks. Go find a snake oil salesman instead, and cure everything wrong with your body one gagging teaspoon at a time. If you decide to live by Jesus’ words, and his alone, those quacks won’t have anything to talk about anyway.
 
   Because right now, by living, not by the lessons of your own Messiah, the true son of God, but rather according to whoever in the Bible expresses prejudices that happen to agree with your own, you continue to crucify your own savior, the actual son of God, every day, every hour, every minute of your life.
 
Think about that. Think about it real hard.

They fear Ocasio-Cortez; and they should

The ultra conservative gang is pulling is afraid, and they are pulling out all the stops. In this case, it’s Ben Stein. He was funny in some movies because his mode of speaking was about the same as his mode of thinking. Now he’s the latest wealth-is-for-the-wealthy striking out at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He’s out of his depth. He is attempting to compare her to Adolf Hitler because she promotes social programs, a socially responsible government, and a more equitable distribution of wealth in our country. She—gasp—actually believes things like: millionaires and billionaires ought to pay their fair share of taxes; people who work full time should earn a living wage; every American should have affordable health care; LGBTQ Americans are people too and should be treated equally.

Let’s be VERY CLEAR. What Ocasio-Cortez is talking about is a reasonable and responsible combination of government and social consciousness as a government and nation. The GOP has done all it could to enrich the richest and destroy the middle and lower economic classes. they like it that way. And now they have given us Donald Trump. We have already seen the fruits of Trump’s Hitler-like promises and psychosis—as discussed by MANY historians, sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists who have a much firmer grip on the subject than Mister Stein. Ocasio-Cortez is nothing like either Hitler or Trump. She is the direct opposite. Remember what Joseph Goebbels said, to always accuse the other side of that which you are guilty of yourself. He also applauded lying your way to power, and advised to make the lie a big one, and keep saying it, until you convinced people to believe it.  These happen to be two of the most prominent, and effective, tools in Trump’s crooked bucket. Now Ben Stein has bought in.

Ben Stein is attacking Ocasio-Cortez for one reason and one reason only. He supports the concept of very small government and is dedicated to the trickle-down economic theories the GOP has used since the Reagan era (that’s 40 years), to continually unbalance the economy and the social strata of America. Ben Stein is a believer of the concept that, as Al Capp put it so eloquently in “Li’l Abner,” what’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA.” He supports the belief that 1% of the people should have all of the money, all of the political power, and all of the control.

General Bullmoose is in the White House right now. We can see how that’s working out.

And about that “small government” thing. It was feasible and reasonable in 1790 (the year of the first official census), when the population of the country was under 4 million. In a nation of 300 million plus, a nation in which 99% of the people are more in danger from their own country’s massive corporations than any outside threat, the government must be large enough to stand up for that 99% against the 1%, as well as the threats posed by racism, white supremacists, and rampant, vicious religious cultism. Think far-right evangelicals. Social responsibility maintaining stability through equity in the economic system are vital necessities for a government that represents ALL of the people, as opposed to the wealthy few and the violent cultists.

That is the kind of government Ocasio-Cortez is talking about. Ben Stein should be ashamed to even attempt comparing her to Hitler. But then, he believes the 1% should rule. They’ve been consolidating their wealth and their power for four decades. Ocasio-Cortez is talking about restoring the political and economic balance all Americans deserve, and all of America needs. The far right white supremacists don’t like it. More importantly, the 1% doesn’t like it. To make things more awful for them, she is tough. She isn’t going to politely sit down and let the old guard on either side of the aisle tell her to be quiet. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also smart, and determined to get a fair shake for all Americans. She is a Tigress. Put her and Mitch McConnell in a locked cage WWE event, and she would have the old traitor on the mat begging for mercy with his last breath in seconds. I doubt she’d even work up a sweat. Donald Trump’s bone spurs start acting up almost as bad at the mention of her name, as they do when he hears the word Pelosi.

That’s why the wealthiest among us hate Ocasio-Cortez. It’s why they fear her. And they should.

Abortion, Don Trump, & Me vs. the Right

   I need to clarify something.  I frequently tell right-wingers that they cannot escape responsibility for supporting Donald Trump by saying they voted for him for this reason or that reason, but don’t agree with every awful thing he does. This brings me to abortion, and my views on it.
   Abortion, and to a lesser degree birth control, are two very key reasons a lot of religious conservatives voted against Hillary Clinton and not actually ‘for’ Donald Trump, they say. I tell them “When you vote for a person, you vote to accept all that they are, and all that they represent. You have responsibility for their actions whether you want to accept it or not.” I stand by that. So I feel the need to be clear about my stance on abortion vis-à-vis my vote for progressive candidates..
  I believe that a woman’s body is her own, but that she has certain responsibilities in how she uses it in regard to her amazing facility to create life. I believe the same about men. Clearly, it’s much more complicated for women, because men cannot conceive. They do, however, provide half of the conception formula.  Sadly, a man who doesn’t care about his responsibility can walk away from the consequences of his actions.
   It’s a much heavier responsibility for women because they can’t just walk away. I understand that. Here are my core beliefs.
   1.  I do not believe in abortion for convenience. Abortion is
not acceptable to me as an alternative to exercising responsibility. Don’t tell me you forgot, you were just so overwhelmed by passion you (male & female both) couldn’t control yourself. If you have that little self-control, perhaps you shouldn’t live around other people.
   1a  I understand there is now, or soon will be, an effective ‘morning after’ pill for such situations. By all means, use it.
   2.  I believe in birth control, birth control, birth control. Don’t even try to preach to me against abortion and birth control at the same time. Sexual attraction is one of the most intense connections between people. If you deny both abortion and birth control, you are irresponsible and naïve. And don’t get me started, here, about how important birth control is world-wide, as humans continue to multiply and multiply. Guppies beware.
   3.  I believe in abortion in instances of rape, incest, and when the mother’s live is in danger. In these cases, the final decision MUST rest with the woman.
   3a  I confess I have no clear thoughts of how to proceed re cases in which the child is going to be born severely deformed and/or disabled. I can say this. This decision, again, must be made by the woman, and I hope with much loving, compassionate counseling.
   4.  I believe in Planned Parenthood. Every statistic shows that abortion, and deaths from abortion, are much lower thanks to Planned Parenthood.
   5.  Keep religion out of it. If you can’t make a good moral, responsible, constructive decision on your own, without looking at what some local community “prophet” claimed was “God’s law” two thousand years ago, I’m not sure I trust you to go for pizza. I believe in God (Goddess, Creator, the Force, however we refer to it). But I do not ascribe to neatly packaged ‘religions’ that love, above all, to proclaim that ‘their’ view of God is the only one. I think we are supposed to learn, to be responsible toward each other, the other life with which we share this incredible planet, and the planet itself, without passing the buck to page 71, or chapter 28, or verse 8 in paragraph 16 of section 49, etc. If we can’t practice decent morality and responsible and stewardship and kindness because it is in our heart, we are already lost.
   Summary:  Abortion for convenience, no, I don’t like that.
   Birth control, and Planned Parenthood, yes and yes and yes and yes again. Abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, or the child may be born severely disabled, has to be totally up to the woman. Competent, compassionate (as opposed to brow beating and bullying and religious book thumping) is vital.
   If you disagree, fine. That is your prerogative. But if you think your feeling on this particular issue justifies your support of a criminal, corrupt, authoritarian, anti-Constitution fascist Hitler wanna-be, of neo-Nazism, anti-immigration white supremacy racists, of a sick “nationalism” that spawned both World Wars, of treating women as second class citizens and virtual serfs,  of total disregard for the very air we breathe and water we drink and animal life with which we share this place, I probably wasted my time here, starting with “I need to clarify…”
   I think I can justify my feelings about abortion in the framework of how I vote, and still hold you responsible for your support of a man who is all of the above.