Monday, October 26, 2020

Words from de Tocqueville and Mona Charen

 




I used to think Mona Charen’s conservatism was way off base and often criticized her.  As of late, her columns have changed and the following column shows that conservatism need not be synonymous with insanity, as the present administration practices it.


 JL


Mona Charen: Don't let Trump discredit patriotism

 



October 26, 2020


Donald Trump has a documented history of driving Americans away from the policies he favors. This is both good and bad. 

As Catherine Rampell noted, the president has moved American public opinion toward greater approval of immigration. The percentage of Americans who said that immigration is good for the country bounced around in the 50s and 60s in the first decade and a half of this century. But since 2016, the trend has been up sharply. In 2020, 77% of Americans told Gallup that they think immigration is good for the country. Similarly, the percentage who believe that accepting refugees fleeing war or persecution should be a priority has increased from 62% in 2016 to 73% in 2019.

 Trump has also increased the appetite for government involvement in health care. Since embarking on his quest for the presidency, Trump has denounced the Affordable Care Act, but only because he promised something superior. His specific policy proposal for replacing the law was something "terrific," "phenomenal" and "fantastic." In February 2017, having been in office a few weeks, Trump tweeted "repeal and replacement of ObamaCare is coming fast!" At the end of March, with negotiations bogging down, he pleaded for more time. "I want to have a great health care bill and plan, and we will."

 It didn't happen. Health care reform was a dead letter, except that having failed to repeal or replace the ACA through legislation, the administration joined in a legal assault on the law, challenging its constitutionality. If the Trump administration were to get its way at the Supreme Court, millions of Americans would lose health insurance in the midst of a pandemic. Oh, and on Aug. 3 of this year, the president once again promised his own health care proposal "hopefully, prior to the end of the month."

 Amazingly, the public's response to this clown show was to express increasing support for the ACA, with a solid 55% expressing approval of the law this month, up from about 40% in 2016.

 Trump's fulminations against trade have convinced some -- Republicans are now far more negative about NAFTA than in the pre-Trump era -- but most Americans have moved in the other direction, with 74% agreeing that trade is an opportunity for economic growth versus 21% who view it as a threat to the economy.

 As a pro-immigrant free-trader, I'm not sorry that Trump has driven people away from his views, though I do lament the loss of a chance for free market health reform.

 Trump has driven people away from the Republican Party, and caused them to reject the label "conservative." And while it's no loss for the nation if protectionism and nativism are discredited, there are other things that Trumpism endangers that would be serious losses.

 I worry that Trump is contaminating patriotism itself. His blatantly racist appeals combined with his crude and offensive invocations of "America First" run the risk of associating patriotism with whiteness. His fondness for the Confederacy stains his embrace of the American flag.

 What Trump's fans on the right never seem to grapple with as they ceaselessly invoke the specter of socialism, riots and gun confiscation, is how much Trump drives the left toward extremism. From the 1619 Project to the toppling of statues of anti-slavery heroes, there is a movement afoot that Bari Weiss calls a "mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality." Some of this predated Trump, of course, but he has turbo-charged it.

 The left-wing challenge to American legitimacy has always stressed racism, colonialism, sexism and unconstrained capitalism. Trump has lived down to each and every one of those stereotypes. (You may object that he wasn't a colonialist, but don't forget, "Take the oil!")

 As we look to rebuild in a post-Trump world, we non-leftists must be able to make the case for American patriotism. We cannot respond to the 1619 Project with heavy-handed attempts to limit its reach, but with arguments and context. No, this country would not be lovable if its history were one long chronicle of racism and oppression. It isn't. We have much to be ashamed of in our history but much more to celebrate and be grateful for. We have been free and a beacon of freedom for more than two centuries. We have welcomed people from all over the globe and insisted that when they become citizens, they are the full equals of those born here. We have confronted our past sins, imperfectly, but diligently, nevertheless. We've given the world fantastic inventions like the airplane and the Salk vaccine, but nothing more important than the Declaration of Independence with its ringing invocation of natural rights.

 Trump is a shriveled soul and tends to diminish everything and everyone he touches. As we move out of his orbit, we can begin to recapture some of the grandeur of the nation he has led so miserably.

 We cannot permit American patriotism to be hijacked by yahoos and bigots. As we start to heal from the past four years, we must rescue patriotism from Trumpism.

 Mona Charen is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

 

JL

 




 de Tocqueville Had it Right

 


A recent letter appearing in the Palm Beach Post opposed getting rid of the Electoral College, cited it as something to temper the “tyranny of the majority” which otherwise would run roughshod over minority factions.” 

“Tyranny of the majority.”  That rang a bell with me.

“Democracy in America,” published by Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville about 180 years ago, is a classic analysis of our system of government which at that time was a fascinating experiment to many curious Europeans.   

In it, de Tocqueville addressed this issue in great detail.  He concludes his Chapter XIV (Unlimited Power of the Majority in the United States and its Consequences) by saying that “If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event may be attributed to the unlimited authority of the majority, which may at some future time urge (in the sense of “drive”) the minorities to desperation, and oblige them to have recourse to physical force.  Anarchy will then be the result, but it will have been brought about by despotism.” 

Think about that for a moment.  Who are the minorities and who is the despot in de Tocqueville’s mind?  And today?

In the succeeding chapter, (Causes Which Mitigate the Tyranny of the Majority in the United States), de Tocqueville specifically cites the legal profession and the jury system as barriers to a tyranny of the majority.  In the following Chapter XVI, he goes further, concluding by saying that “three circumstances contribute most powerfully to the maintenance of the democratic Republic in the United States.”  (By that he means “democracy.”)  They are the our Federal form of government, which “combines the power of a great empire with the security of a small state,” municipal institutions which limit the “despotism of the majority” and finally the judicial power which “can repress the excesses of democracy.”

That last one is crucial!

From reading de Toqueville, I conclude that there is much more than just the Electoral College to prevent a majority from running roughshod over everyone else here.  If we abolish it, there still would be a lot going to preserve our republican form of democracy.  And oddly, this also applies to a minority which behaves as if it is a "majority."  Recall some years ago, Republican references to a "silent majority."

Key to this, it appears to me, is ”the judicial power” de Tocqueville mentions,  which would act to prevent those supposedly elected by a majority from running roughshod over those who might disagree with it, and whose protection rests in the Constitution of the United States and its Amendments.  Political manipulation of the Supreme Court, as carried out by Republicans who refused to even give a hearing to Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Scalia because it was barely within a year of a Presidential election … but are rushing through the approval of a nominee to replace the late Justice Ginsberg because they are likely to be out of power within a few weeks …. are efforts to weaken that judicial system, or at least politicize it, so that it no longer serves to “repress the excesses of democracy.”  (Republicans may answer that the Democrats started playing this game when they refused to confirm Robert Bork’s Supreme Court appointment in 1987.  History denies this claim because the Senate vote against his appointment was bipartisan, 48 for him and 52 against him, including six Republican Senators.)

Once the Republican political nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is on the Court, all it would take to ignite the Democrats’ fuse would be one vote on her part, just one vote, perhaps for the destruction of the Affordable Care Act or perhaps for the reversal of Rowe v. Wade to force the Democrats to fight fire with fire and appoint two, three or even four more Justices to the Supreme Court, once they are in power.  (The attempt by Franklin Roosevelt to expand a very conservative Court in 1937 failed, but the Court got the message and came up with less partisan decisions, making expansion unnecessary.)  Most Republicans, it appears, fail see the connection between Barrett’s politicized appointment and the removal of the long-standing judicial barrier between American democracy and a “tyranny of the majority.”  Some may see it as the exact opposite, an ultra-conservative judiciary as a barrier to  benefits advocated by a tyranny of the majority, which includes universal health care, legalized abortion and an economic safety net, things that a majority of Ameicans want and need.

This is particularly difficult to deal with because it is likely that the tyranny of that supposed “majority” will soon become a tyranny by a minority, an entirely different problem.  And that minority will have significantly weakened the role of the judicial system to remedy the problem, specifically by lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court and lower courts as well.   Perhaps the best way to approach this is to consider the judicial system as a safeguard against "tyranny," be it by a majority, a minority or a despot.

No, it isn’t just a matter involving the Electoral College, when one talks about “tyranny,” be it of the majority, or even worse, of an empowered minority.  There are other barriers to such tyranny, and guess who is trying their darndest to destroy them.

 JL

The Pequod - Ahab's vessel in Moby Dick

I Can Swim


Friday, October 23, 2020

The Final Debate, a Gerson Column and a Paradox


A Paradox

It seems to be the general consensus that Donald Trump will lose the upcoming election on both a popular vote and an electoral college basis because of his failure to properly address the challenges posed by the Covid19 virus pandemic.  That would be a good result, of course, but for the wrong reason.

Covid19 virus which some say is
mutating, for better or worse
 

Does that mean that if there were no such thing as Covid19, he would win re-election?  Does that mean that if there were no such thing as Covid19, Americans would be willing to trade in democracy and the Constitution for an administration no better than a crew of miscast actors, merely attempting to play the roles they are pretending to fill, rather than seriously doing their jobs, for which they lack qualifications, and that includes the President.  Quite possibly!

It is paradoxical that the Covid19 pandemic might be Trump’s undoing and the salvation of the nation.

 

 



What I Learned from the Final Debate 

Because so many voters have already voted, either by mail or at early voting sites, and so many others have already made up their minds, I decided to run an experiment with Thursday evening’s presidential debate. It was educational to say the least.

About 45 minutes before the debate’s start, I tuned in to Fox for their pre-debate commentary.  It was managed, so to speak, by Tucker Carlson flanked by a dour-faced Brit Hume, with assistance from anchors Martha MacCullum and Dana Perino.  Cameo visits by Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich also were included.

Carlson
As expected, they started out with a lie, primarily about Joe Biden’s ill-gained wealth and that of his family. They based this on the widely debunked story which came up a few days ago in the New York Post about emails found on a laptop Hunter Biden had left for repair and not picked up and which ended up in the hands of Rudy Giuliani and the appearance, just a few hours earlier, of a former associate of Hunter Biden who was eager to spill all of the dirt about the Bidens.


The first time I heard this stuff, I recognized it as a lie.  But within minutes, it was repeated by another one of the assembled Fox crew.  This didn’t stop for 45 minutes with all of the above Fox people pitching in, repeating and embellishing the original lie.  If you tell a lie over and over, and it is repeated by different people, it gains a measure of credibility among some people, and this was the sole purpose of Fox’s programming leading up to the debate, to condition its viewers to accept lies as possibly, or even likely, to be the truth, a necessity once Trump started telling them. 

After the debate, I switched to CNN and MSNBC to see what they had to say and their commentators were actually talking about what Joe Biden and Donald Trump, who had occasionally specifically referred to Fox’s earlier “legitimized” lies, had said in response to the moderator’s questions.

These discussions were what might be expected, but then, switching back to Fox, there was Sean Hannity interviewing that former associate of Hunter Biden, and painting the Bidens as thieves.  The entire role of Fox News last night was to legitimize lying so that when Donald Trump started to lie, the audience might be pre-conditioned to accept lies as truth.   This possibly worked among the feebleminded who comprise a good segment of Fox viewers.

As for the debate itself, Biden made his points, talking about what he would do to address the nation’s problems while Trump lied about his accomplishments, and repeatedly asked Biden why he hadn’t done those things when he was Obama’s Vice-President.  Biden replied, “We had a Republican Congress.”   Trump appeared like a boiling kettle whose cover had been firmly taped down.  His facial expressions showed this.  It broke through once when he interjected that “You’re both (Biden and Harris) jumping through AOC’s hoops.”  He also tried to attack Biden for what were Bernie Sanders’ positions.  Biden pointed out that he had defeated Sanders in the Democratic primaries. 

 

Conclusion:  A great debate for Trump if you’re feebleminded.  As for Biden, he lost no ground.  If you haven’t voted yet, do so now if possible.  It might rain on Election Day.

 

 



Shaky Planks

Michael Gerson is a conservative Republican who writes a column for the Washington Post.  Check out his latest message:

The Three Planks of Trump’s GOP are Shaky at Best

 

Michael Gerson

Gerson


WASHINGTON – One of the most symbolic moments of campaign 2020 was when the apparatus of the Republican Party strained and groaned to produce a platform reading, “RESOLVED, That the Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention.”

 

It was, in its own content-free, witless way, an assertion of power. The party that had produced a platform every four years since 1856 had become, well, anything President Donald Trump wished at the moment. It was a declaration and recognition of personal rule. After nearly four years, it is fair to ask: With the GOP as putty in Trump’s hand, what form has it taken? What are the large, organizing commitments of the GOP during the Trump captivity?

 

One would have to be voter suppression. What began, for some, as an effort to ensure ballot security has become a campaign to control the content of the electorate by limiting its size.

 

Not long ago, I would have regarded this as conspiracy thinking. At some point, however, a pattern becomes a plot. There have been Republican efforts to make voting more difficult in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Iowa and Oklahoma. These have included: complicated absentee ballot processes, strict voter ID rules, obstacles for voters returning

from prison, objections to the broad distribution of ballots and logistical obstacles to early voting. The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, set the example of shamelessness by limiting vast counties to a single ballot drop box. The president has attempted to destroy trust in the whole electoral enterprise in preparation for legal challenges to mailin votes.

 

Again and again, Republicans have used, or attempted to use, the power they gained from voters to undermine democracy. This has a political intention but (for some) it also has an ideological explanation. It is the logical electoral implication of nativism. If too much diversity is the cause of our national problems, it can be fought by restricting immigration or by restricting the democratic participation of minorities.

 

The second characteristic of the new GOP is denial of a pandemic in the midst of a surging pandemic. Trump and many other Republicans think they can win only if American voters forget about more than 219,000 deaths from COVID- 19 and the utterly incompetent federal response to the crisis. It is hard to recall any American presidential campaign that depended so directly on the outbreak of mass amnesia.

 

The third organizing commitment of the GOP under Trump is loyalty to his person. At the beginning of his term, there was a Republican attempt to understand the populism that elected Trump and draw its policy implications. That ended quickly. The president made clear that the only thing that really mattered about populism was its end product: himself.

 

Some would add a conservative judiciary to this list of GOP commitments, and there is a case to be made.

 

 

What should we make of this GOP agenda: voter suppression, disease denial and a personality cult dedicated to a con man? It is the weakest appeal to the public of any modern presidential candidate. The Republican Party may win or lose. But it deserves to lose.

 

Michael Gerson

The Washington Post

 

And remember that until Trump came along, Gerson was a Republican.




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.

JL



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/

CLICK HERE TO READ IT.

JL



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.

 JL




An Unpaid Advertisement

"You don’t know what it’s like, having the IRS call you a couple of times a week, all hours of the day, and filling your mailbox with threatening letters.  I gotta tell  ya, I was losing sleep over it.  Ya know, they can garnishee your wages, take your house, take your bank account, it’s awful.  

But then I called the number on those TV ads for Maxima Tax Relief.  I owed IRS over $140,000,000 in income tax they said I never paid… but Maxima got it reduced to $1500, paid over two years, $750 a year.  What a relief.  Now I can sleep again.  And I have the paperwork to prove it!"

Satisfied Customer DJT


JL

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?

JL



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!

 JL




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!)

JL

 

 


 

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.”

JL

                                                             Grrrrr!



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