I’ll use this post to share a ‘breaking’ news story out of Washington.
. . .and the world
First, I spent most of my life as a moderate. That said, this country can no longer afford moderates, any more than it can conservatives. The problem with moderates—and again, I was one—is that they vacillate. They are incapable of forceful, decisive action, because they are always too ready to “see the other guy’s side.” We find ourselves in a world dying first from those who hate, covet, and destroy, and second from the strength afforded them by moderates who just want to see every side without making anybody uncomfortable. Moderation is fine if we’re talking about ice cream. I like chocolate, you like strawberry, no problem. Your teams are the Braves and the Rams, mine are the Cardinals and the Chiefs, we’re cool. But when we get to things like discriminating against people, denying their basic human and civil rights because “your” religion says it’s okay, we have a problem. Moderation is unacceptable. If “your” philosophy is based on “your” supremacy because of the color of your skin, moderation is out of the question. When 1%, or 3% of the country skates along on obscene wealth created for them by 97% of the country doing the real work while being denied a living wage in return, Moderation becomes obscene. The problem with ‘moderates’ is that they want to keep everybody happy and avoid conflict, and in the process tacitly approve and accept the worst abuses of the society, including the destruction of the very air we breathe, water we drink, land that supports us, and animal life we drive to extinction, through their unwillingness to address the issues in any meaningful way. They embolden the worst humans among us, their abuses and destructiveness, by simply keeping their mouth closed. “Unity” is a myth, unless the stakeholders—as in all of the people—are served, protected, and respected. “Unity” is the cry of the abusers, far too often and too consistently heralded by moderates, who mistakenly see “peace” and “unity” as the same thing. We now find ourselves in a near apocalyptic state environmentally, socially, and economically, largely because of decades of moderates siding with the destroyers and greedy by preaching “unity,” when what they really mean is “let’s just not have any trouble, ok?” Moderates will not serve or save the environment. Moderates will not stop the rise of white supremacy neo-Nazism. Moderates will not ensure the rights of all Americans in the face of “religious” bigotry and racism. Moderates will achieve none of these things because they do not have the strength. They don’t have the stomach for the fights we absolutely must now win. They are unable to face the reality of the fight that must be made, and so they preach peace, let’s not have any trouble here. And to them, that is unity. Their unity is acquiescence to the likes of Trump, McConnell, the 1%, the KKK and neo-Nazis, the insanity of the evangelical church, the greedy polluters who count their money while the world strangles. Moderates are the Neville Chamberlains of today. They see themselves as deal makers, the crafters of reasonable compromise. Check your history. “Reasonable compromise” has always been a sliding step into retreat. We can’t afford them. I’ll vote for Joe Biden, simply because absolutely anybody would be better than Trump. Biden at least doesn’t want to be King. But Joe’s “moderateness” is in reality more angled toward the right wing. He is not a centrist. He ideologically incapable of taking sufficient steps to save us from any of the nation-destroying forces we’re facing, and in terms of an environmental apocalypse, he is a disaster.
I’m going to keep this one short and very much to the point.
It’s time for a dual ticket.
It is time, I believe, for two Democratic candidates to come together and campaign as a president/Vice-President combination. Those candidates are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Liz and Bernie would need to reach an agreement with Bernie at the top of the ticket, I think, with Elizabeth primed to succeed him. I base this strictly on Bernie’s age.
Yeah, I know campaigning as a pre-set ticket ‘just isn’t done,’ but it’s time to change that. A fully-formed ticket would remove the Bernie vs Liz dilemma going into into primaries. I think that if they came together like this, a Sanders/Warren duo would set up a powerful vision of continuity for America. It would could unite the supporters of each, and the entire progressive movement. I don’t think Trump and his corrupt Republican party could stand against it.
Could it backfire? Possible. But here’s the thing. We have reached the point, in terms of a crumbling environment and insane level of wealth distribution that the only way we can save both the planet and our society is with aggressive, unified action. Any move toward centrism is doomed to be too little, to slow and too late.
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; 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. 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”.
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.”
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.
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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.