Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Long May She Wave, Promotions, the Gullibles and the Jewish Vote

Howard Silver - 10-2020

 Ignoring "Promotions" - But Still, Donate!

When I look at my Email each morning on Gmail (I also get some via AOL but my Email “mainline” is Gmail), the first thing I do is segregate all of those in the “Promotions” category and delete them.  That takes care of about two thirds of the incoming Email.  Because of the algorithms built into the system, these are from sources which know I agree with them and invariably end up asking for money.  I do indeed make an occasional donation, but never via a “promotions” message source.  My recent donations have gone to the Democratic Senate candidates in Kentucky and Texas, both deserving of support in close races as well as to the Kos website itself, which “aggregates” many progressive articles.  I also have subscribed to Boston College Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from an American” site which does the best job on the entire internet spectrum of summing up the day’s political activities.  Once rid of "promotions," Email is easier to handle.


Rescuing America from the "Gullibles"

This morning, I posted the following on Professor Heather Cox Richardson's daily newsletter, "Letters from an American," and for those of you who don’t read it, here it is:


For years I have been calling those who vote for Trump "gullible." I have been correct. A recent survey suggests that almot 50% of Republicans believe the conspiracy fictions that QAnon spreads, with or without the QAnon label. Two weeks before Election Day, it is time to stop playing defense against the President's lies and those of his supporters. They are intended to take our eyes off of the ball, which is something the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger didn't do the other evening. It will take at least Biden's full term in office and a strong Senate majority to undo the harm perpetrated upon the United States by "the gullible." Let's hit a home run on Nov. 3, and that doesn't get done by wasting time countering GOP diversions.  

The recent survey I refer to can be found at https://www.aol.com/article/news/2020/10/20/new-yahoo-newsyougov-poll-half-of-trump-supporters-believe-qanons-imaginary-claims/24657054/



Jewish Support of Trump

Many of the Jews still supporting Trump are doing so because they believe Republicans are better for Israel.  Jewish Republican groups sponsor TV commercials locally which are nauseating.  Here are some points for these folks to consider.

Israel establishing diplomatic relations with some of the Gulf States only formalized something that has been going on for years.  And any supposed West Bank settlement concessions Netanyahu made in connection with this are only in the “I’ll think about it” stage and merely cosmetic.  Nothing new there for Trump to brag about.

Moving the U.S. embassy at this time to Jerusalem, where it ultimately belongs, made negotiations with the Palestinians more difficult and strengthened the position of Hamas and Hezbollah.  Nothing for Trump to brag about, at all.

Historically, look at the administrations during which attempts at real progress was made in the Middle East: (1) The Egypt / Israel Peace Agreement was reached during the Carter administration in 1979. (2) The Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinians were reached during the Bush, Sr. administration in 1992. And (3) The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty was reached during the Clinton administration in 1994.  Our support of Israel has never, until Trump, been a politicized issue.

True, some of these did not work out as well as expected, but that is no reason to claim that Republicans are better for Israel. And while all of our administrations have given Israel military support, the largest military aid package ever given to Israel came during the Obama administration. 

And if you happen to know any anti-Semites, think about whom they support and see how they shut up when you mention Charlottesville. Nothing there for Trump to brag about either.  He thinks there were a lot of fine people on BOTH sides.

And while on the subject of Israel, as for Protestant Evangelical support for the Jewish State, I believe it exists only because they believe the existence of the State of Israel is a theological prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and not for any other reason.  Trump covets their votes.


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Friday, October 16, 2020

Biden and "Packing" the Court, Judge Barrett's Hearing, Notre Dame Alums and Namecalling's Counterproductiveness

Perfectly Legal Actions and Nuclear Detente

Some, including Mark Thiessen in a recent Palm Beach Post column, attack Joe Biden for being non-committal about what would be the perfectly legal action of nominating additional Justices to the Supreme Court. That is one of the perfectly legal actions, including supporting the addition of two more States to the Union, which the Democrats might use to counteract the results of the perfectly legal action of the Republicans appointing a Supreme Court Justice just a few days before a presidential election in order to take the perfectly legal actions of reversing Roe v. Wade and emasculating the Affordable Care Act.  

While the Republicans are deadly serious about actually taking those perfectly legal actions which would favor their positions during the twilight of their administration and control of the Senate, Joe Biden is not renouncing the perfectly legal retaliatory steps which will be available to the Democrats as well, if need be, if they win the election.  He would be a fool if he did.

Just as possessing nuclear weapons, without using them, has prevented a cataclysmic war, mere possession of these perfectly legal tools (an expanded SCOTUS and Puerto Rico and D.C. becoming States) by the Democrats might be enough to bring some sense to the Republicans and the new SCOTUS majority.  Getting Joe Biden to declare in advance that he would not use these perfectly legal tools is like unilateral nuclear disarmament, which would considerably weaken our nation’s position regarding its adversaries and possibly lead to a hot war.




Thoughts on Amy Coney Barrett

Because of their majority, the GOP Senators will confirm Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court.  But they may not be getting what they expect.  Unquestionably, Judge Barrett is a brilliant person, both from an intellectual standpoint and from a judicial standpoint.  She is far too smart not to see Donald Trump for the conceited, not too bright, buffoon that he is.

I hope  it is just coincidental that what the President wants for politically selfish reasons, specifically the returning regulation of abortions to the States (reversing Roe v. Wade) and emasculation or destruction of the Affordable Care Act are also things that she supports. 

He knew her positions before he nominated her.  In fact, that's
why he nominated her in the first place!  She cannot be objective.

Her reasons, however, are different from his.  As for abortion, and even birth control, she deeply believes it should be illegal, as a matter of faith.  Trump has no apparent faith in anything other than himself and has in the past supported abortion.   As for Obamacare, she apparently feels its passage was not in accordance with her “originalist” views of the Constitution’s limits on what it permits Congress to do.  Trump does not understand the Constitution.  He just wants government’s health care involvement turned over to the private sector.  On these two points, Bennett is out of step with today’s United States.  That’s why she should not be on the Supreme Court.  The Constitution and the precedents established by prior Court cases (Stare Decisis) need to be flexibly interpreted and her mindset prevents this.  But I am afraid we are going to be stuck with her for at least one generation.

By accepting the nomination, Barrett compromised, fully knowing she was being used by the President and the Republican Party.  She did this, apparently, because she felt that being appointed to the Supreme Court was the best way to further her deeply held beliefs concerning human life and her Constitutional 'originalism' position regardless of how she got there, ignoring the scoundrel Donald Trump as the source of her nomination. 

Regarding the question of a contested or delayed election as well as the mechanics of the transfer of the presidency, I am not at all certain that if litigation regarding any such events reaches the Supreme Court, that in the face of a massive Democratic victory, a Justice Barrett would stick to her “originalist” views, which might be a basis for the Court’s denying Biden the presidency.  Republicans certainly hope so.  Indeed, certain things are mandated by the Constitution but clever lawyers can find loopholes anywhere.  Because of her views regarding abortion and Obamacare as mentioned above,  as documented in articles she has written, she logically should be expected to do whatever she can to keep a Democrat out of the White House. 

But there is a “but” and it is a big one, which Judge Barrett seems smart enough to recognize.  If the Democrats win the House and the Senate as they are likely to do, and the Supreme Court is asked, due to the kind of circumstances mentioned in the preceding paragraph, to give Trump four more years, despite his losing the election, the measures the Democrats might take to counteract such a position by the Supreme Court might be extreme enough to significantly deflect a rightward swing of the Court’s positions on both abortion and Obamacare.  As pointed out in the lead piece on this posting, more SCOTUS Justices and two more States would cancel out any conservative direction the Court might take with her on the bench.  It might take a year or so to accomplish that, but it would happen!   And the fact that she took the nomination offer from an immoral scoundrel like Donald J. Trump proves that she is capable of compromise. 

Be that as it may, as brilliant as she appears, Judge Barrett should not be approved as a Supreme Court Justice at a time when a third of the Senate and the Presidency are being selected by voters, many of whom have already taken advantage of “early voting” and “voting by mail.”   I think she knows this.  If she disregards it, and she will, the Senate’s ramming through her appointment to the Supreme Court would be subject, historically, to far greater criticism than her judicial philosophy, whatever her few answers to Democratic Senators’ questions about it elicited.  

But the Senate will do exactly that, approve her nomination, if only for the sake of Trumpublican Party loyalty.  I would hope that Judge Barrett, despite her brilliance, does not go down in history as just another person being used by Donald Trump and then tossed on the trash heap.

Possible Conclusion:  A massive Biden victory, including a Democratic Senate majority, will result in Roe v. Wade and the ACA surviving.  The Republicans and the Court will realize that unless the will of the voters is served, the alternative would be far worse than the status quo for them, conceivably including two more Democratic States and perhaps four more justices on the SCOTUS bench.  They will be grateful that Joe Biden will be the new President and not Bernie Sanders.

Whether or not this comes to pass depends to a great extent on continued efforts by Democrats to bring out the vote.  In that endeavor, you can be helpful.


The Fighting Irish 

I am not impressed by the number of Notre Dame alumni present in the Trump administration.  Good school, but not Harvard or Yale!  Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, received her law degree there and his White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, received his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame.  (Becoming a military doctor, Conley served in Afghanistan before his White House assignments which culminated in his becoming the President’s doctor in 2018 when his predecessor, Dr. Ronnie Jackson, left to enter politics.  Dr. Conley’s further education was at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he received his medical degree.)  Former White House Counsel Don McGahn also receive his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame.  St. Patrick’s Day at the White House in March ought to be fun if the Republicans still have keys to the place.  They can wear green masks if Trump is still around and lets them!




Insults Strengthen the Insulted

Two expressions which bother me are “non-college graduate white male voters” (often used by pollsters) and “low-information voters.”  I may have used the latter myself but will do so no more.  To those whom these expressions describe, they come across as elitist slurs and reinforce their loyalty to Donald Trump, a “low-information” President himself whose college degree can be ignored as well since he spent little or no time in classes at Fordham and the University of Pennsylvania where, as some claim, his Wharton degree was facilitated by his family.  There is a bond between Trump and these voters.  Why strengthen it?


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Democratic Strategies and a Biblical Lesson

Rx For Democrats

What are the Democrats doing, many ask, in response to the usual Trumpublican shenanigans including voter suppression, spurious litigation, reduced number of drop-off boxes and possible intimidation of voters and vote counters.  Lying down and playing by the rules, being Mr. Nice Guy again? Like in 2000?  Not quite.

The answer:   I believe that nothing will be decided as to Democratic strategies until after the election. It will depend upon (1) whether Amy Barrett has been confirmed by the Senate, (2) how big a margin Biden wins by, electorally and popularly, (3) the make-up of the next Senate and (4) the degree by which the Covid19 pandemic is growing.

The Democrats have weapons in their arsenal such as increasing SCOTUS size, admitting D.C. and P.R. as States and numerous tactics possible under Senate and House rules. Which ones, and when, they "unsheath" them is yet to be determined. Readers can influence this by getting on the phone, etc. and working with the Democratic Party to increase Biden's margin of victory and turning the Senate Democratic.   

An enormous victory at the polls will influence the ultimate Democratic strategy and is what counts right now.  Work toward it!


Sunday School 

The Good Book

Far from being a theologian, I did some Bible research on the idea of a Covid19-infected Donald Trump “reaping what he had sown.”  There are a lot of Biblical quotes applicable to that.  The previous posting, at its very end, provided a link to them from both the New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures.  Here is one, (From the Prophet Hosea 10: lines 10 to 15) with my annotations in red:

   You have plowed iniquity; (minimizing extent of Covid19 threat, unwisely discouraging precautions)
    You have reaped injustice; (Trump himself becoming infected)
    You have eaten the fruit of lies. 
(Blame is yours for becoming infected)
    Because you have trusted in your own way
    And in the multitude of your warriors,
(Trusting self and DOJ lackies and SWAT teams)
Therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people,  (There will be violent  demonstrations)  and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,  (Your supporters will lose)
   As Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; 
(Don’t know to what Biblical battle this refers)
    Mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 
(But it will be bloody)
    Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
(Refers to Republican Administration, not the “House of the Lord,” Israel, … whom Hosea was addressing)
    Because of your great evil. (Collectively as followers of President Trump, and of Trump individually)
    At dawn the king of Israel
(Morning after the election, referring to President Trump)
    Shall be utterly cut off. 
(Defeated in the election and ultimately exiled. Amen!)





A Letter 

Here’s a letter I just sent off to the Palm Beach Post.  Hope they publish it, with the hope of it causing Trump to lose a few GOP votes.   Charen is a conservative Republican, one of the remaining few with brains.

“Mona Charen’s column in Monday’s Post concluded by saying “America needs a sane, serious, humane, center-right party that aims to persuade, not to dominate” and went on to add that “this GOP is not it.”  Earlier in that column she had pointed out that the GOP is unhospitable to conservatives, moderates and people of decency and courage, citing former House Speaker Paul Ryan, former Ohio Governor John Kasich and Senator Mitt Romney as examples. Ms. Charen did not go any further and did not take the next logical step, however, which would have been to urge such Republicans to form a third party to supplement the ‘platformless’ GOP which has become no more than a cheering section for Donald Trump.”



Saturday, October 10, 2020

"Not Ending Well" and A Criminal on the Loose




I posted the following on Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from Americans” daily newsletter (https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/), the morning after the October 7 Harris-Pence debate.   Yes, I paid the fee to be able to post there and to read the postings of others on the site.  It gives one the feeling of not being alone in fighting evil in government.

“Right now, between Barr's henchmen and the Senate's likely approval of Justice-to-be Barrrett, it looks as if this is not going to end well. The only alternative solution might be a recognition by the Republicans that the only way they can forestall the admission of Puerto Rico and D.C. as States and a larger Supreme Court (a question Harris ducked), putting them in the doghouse for years to come, would be to agree to hold off filling the vacant Court seat until after the new President and Senate are sworn in. Hope such a deal is in the works"

The next place to go with this line of thought is what I mean by “it looks as if this is not going to end well.”  I have no crystal ball but I have an idea as to some of the factors which will be involved in that sad ending, and which seem to be coming together in sort of a perfect storm involving (1) the processes through which we choose our leaders, included the Electoral College, (2) domestic violence/terrorism and (3) a breakdown of law and order. 

What happens in determining the results of the forthcoming election is just a manifestation of the problem. The capstone of this is the Federal government’s failure to stop the spread of Covid19 here as other civilized nations throughout the world have managed to do.  This highlights our nation’s confusion between a government serving the people and a socialist state. They are not the same. Government is ignorant of what its role should be. 

Our (1) continuing inability to resolve racial issues, (2) the gross misinterpretation of the Second Amendment, allowing terrorists to be armed, (3) the politicization of the courts and agencies such as the Department of Justice and (4) a breakdown in the distribution of the nation’s wealth are other factors which, conceivably, can lead to some sort of social revolution, which whether coming from the right or from the left in this country, will elicit a violent reaction from the other side. That is what “not ending well” can mean.  And it isn't pretty.



Militants in Michigan Capital in April
The FBI has arrested a group of right-wing militants who had planned to kidnap the Governor of Michigan.  Why have they not arrested the person who instigated their illegal act by urging his followers whom he knew included armed private militia to “Liberate Michigan”?  (Mafia “dons” never ordered specific “whackings” but their “captains” knew what they wanted done from other things that they had said.  This way, the “Godfather” remained uninvolved, safe in his olive oil importing business, and underlings were left to take the blame.)  If you or I advocated a “putsch” to violently overthrow a State government on television before millions, and some took that to be a mission I wanted carried out, conspired to do it, but were caught, I would be arrested too.  Donald Trump should be arrested with the rest of these conspirators.  Abetting terrorism makes one a terrorist. 

Otherwise we have a criminal on the loose.

(Only "Barr" keeps him from being behind "Bars.")

Despite all that I have posted, I do wish the President and his wife a speedy and full recovery.  Nevertheless, his actions did invite his being infected with Covid19... and spreading it to others.   We reap the harvest of the crops we plant.  Check with Amy Barrett.  I think that's somewhere in the Bible.  You can start looking by Clicking right here.  Any Evangelicals who happen to see this, take  notice.



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Biden's Speech at Gettysburg and a New Short Story

                                                       *    *    *    *

Joe Biden's Remarks at Gettysburg

Reproduced from Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s daily posting, “Letter from Americans,” here are her remarks about Joe Biden’s speech yesterday, Oct. 6, in Gettysburg, Pa.

“Today in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a town hallowed by history, Biden gave a blockbuster speech calling for the nation to put aside division and come together. He talked about race: “Think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that for far too long we have never fully recognized.” He talked about disparities of wealth: “Working people and their kids deserve an opportunity.”

And he talked about Lincoln, and how, at Gettysburg, he called for Americans to dedicate themselves to a “new birth of freedom” so that the men who had died for that cause “shall not have died in vain.”

Today we are engaged once again in a battle for the soul of the nation,” Biden said. “After all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth.

“You and I are part of a great covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and of hope renewed," he said. "If we do our part, if we stand together, if we keep faith with the past and with each other, then the divisions of our time can give way to the dreams of a brighter, better, future.”

                                                                *   *   *   *

 A Bus Tour of Washington in the Year 2120

And on the “lighter side,” here’s a glimpse a century into the future in an exclusive short story you will see nowhere else.  You will note it assumes the President’s full recovery from his bout with his nemesis, the Covid19 virus, often benignly referred to by him as a “hoax.”

Ladeez and Gentlemen, welcome to the All-Around-Washington bus tour of the nation’s capital.  On your right, across from Lafayette Park, you can see the tall black obelisk rising on the site of the original White House.  It was put there some years ago by the ACLU, an organization dedicated to civil liberties and constitutional rights.  After the tour, try to visit it and read the inscriptions on it, one of which reads “Never Again.”  A lot of what I am about to tell you is included in a pamphlet available at the obelisk.

For those of you who are visitors to the  United States and may be unfamiliar with its history, the original White House was occupied for four years during the last century, from 2017 to 2020, by the nation’s 45th president, a man named Donald Trump.  As proven in court cases after his defeat in 2020 and ultimate exile to a small village outside of Moscow, it was found that the degree of corruption, thievery, dishonesty, immorality and evil which permeated his administration had made the White House undesirable as a residence or office facility after his stay there.  Consequently, it was abandoned.  The Washington Zoo had even declined to take it over when it was offered to them to serve as a facility in which to store animal waste, even after they had been assured that all traces of the last century’s Trump Virus epidemic had been disinfected and removed.   Engineering studies, backed up by leading clergy of all faiths, concluded that all of this, along with the acrid stench of wickedness which surrounded the structure, which actually could be smelled if one got close to the place, made it permanently uninhabitable and not fit for future use of any kind.  After several decades of standing unoccupied and unused, the original White House was razed back in 2055.  Not too many people know that several of the demolition workers died from poisonous fumes still remaining decades later from the days of the Trump contamination of the structure.  You won’t find that in the history books.

As we proceed down Pennsylvania Avenue, you will see the new White House, an exact duplicate of the original one, which was built on the site of the old Washington Post Office, which Donald Trump had turned into a hotel which bore his name to house those bearing him gifts and rent overpriced rooms from him.  When that structure was finally razed, much documentation of Trump’s evil was found buried below it, including at least 2,000 non-disclosure agreements which he had forced many of those in and out of his administration to sign.

A foreign gentleman sitting on the bus just asked me what political party this Trump fellow belonged to. Well, he claimed to be a Republican, but once defeated in 2020, even that party claimed he never really was one of them.  That wasn’t enough, however, to save the Republican party which since Trump’s presidency has barely survived, the highest ranking official they have been able to elect, right now, being a city councilman in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  

Now as we approach the Ginsberg Supreme Court Building, be sure to notice the  .  .  .