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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Muscle Behind H.R. 1

Important Announcement:   Between now and the next full posting on this blog, new items will continue to come up.  Rather than wait for the blog's next full posting, they will be added ... with the date they are added shown ... at the tail end of this posting.  Scroll down right now to read the ones already added to this particular posting, if any.  (And see recent prior postings as well.)  Come back and check out what's new on this blog every day!


For the People

The “For the People Act” (H.R.1) is a bill in the United States Congress to expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal office holders.  

If passed by the Senate (It already passed in the House with a party-line vote), it will counteract the many voter suppression laws being passed by Republican controlled State legislatures.  In Constitutional terms, it would impose a Federal government leash on such reckless State legislation.

Playing Hardball

I see it as
a softball approach to preserving democracy in the face of voter suppression. If it fails in the Senate, I see the Democrats going to a hardball approach which might include the admission of the D. of C. and Puerto Rico into the Union and an expansion of the Supreme Court.

Republicans know and fear that and this just might bring sanity to a few of them, enough to bring an end of the filibuster and at last, start an honest discussion of the issues H.R.1 addresses and also, of the the gross misinterpretation of the Second Amendment as well which, besides being the refuge of those who see the government as an enemy, also opens the door to gun violence as illustrated by our weekly mass killings.


Item added late on March 23

Ten days before the Boulder, Colorado, supermarket shooting, a judge overruled Boulder's ban on assault weapons.  Like Lady Macbeth, there is blood on his hands which cannot be washed off.  He reasoned that cities couldn't institute such bans. The killer's weapon was purchased six days before the shooting. (I don't know if it was purchased in Boulder, but does that really matter?  Weapons are available at gun shows and if against the law, by crossing a State or muicipal borderline.)   

I think we should repeal the Second Amendment and replace it with one which permits licensed weapons for law enforcement, hunting, target shooting and self-protection in one's home or business.  Period.

There is no reason for civilians to have a weapon ready if called to serve in a state "militia" these days.  That was the real intention of the Second Amendment, despite misinterpretations by the SCOTUS. The Amendment's authors feared the Federal government would crack down militarily on those States where slavery was legal. They would have to be prepared to fight back. That finally happened in 1861, when they saw that history was not on their side. That need is gone today.  Putting politics aside, Supreme Court justices should know that, even the late Justice Scalia, who in this instance put politics ahead of history.

Item added on March 24

How Republicans gain control of State legislatures:  They know that if voters cast ballots based on what is in their best interests, they would always lose.  That is because they do not recognize government’s role as being “of, by and for the people.” They view it as pathway to getting re-elected.  And to do this they need money and votes ... which have nothing to do with benefiting “the people.”

To get money, they support legislation favorable to businesses, to real estate developers and to the wealthy and which reduces the tax burdens on these folks and results in generous donations to their campaigns.

To get votes, they support popular positions which override the best interests of the voters.  Two illustrations: First, there are enough people who oppose abortion rights for religious reasons (many Roman Catholics, evangelical Christians and Orthodox Jews) who give that issue priority over all other issues.  Secondly, there are enough people who believe laws which limit their access to personal weapons are bad because they feel a gun is better protection than the law provides, despite the gun violence and deaths which accompany the proliferation of guns in our society.

So, even if a Republican candidate really doesn’t give a hoot about the availability of abortion to a woman who wants or needs one and recognizes that the availability of weapons repeatedly causes all too many needless deaths in our country, they will still be strongly anti-abortion and pro-gun.  That will guarantee them re-election by catering to these groups which see no further than one, or both, of these issues.  And that is all that matters.

When HR 1 passes, this year or sometime in the future, protecting the right to vote of millions, a right which Republicans attack on a daily basis, that will be the end of the Republican Party.   Good riddance.

Item added on March 30

It's all very simple. 

The Union won the Civil War. The Confederacy lost the Civil War. Its real reason for rebelling was to preserve slavery and allow its spread. After that war, Reconstruction was to remedy this. It worked until 1877 when it was politically betrayed. We must now resume the validation of the Union victiory in the Civil War, and pick up where we left off in 1877. It is too late to send the troops back in for that purpose (as was done to enforce Brown vs. Board of Education), but the same thing can be accomplished by laws such as HR 1 for which we should fight so that those who died in the Civil War "shall not have died in vain." That's what the 16th President said, and much more. It's all very simple. 

(And there is no role in validating the Union victory for today's Republican Party which is the successor to those who betrayed the Union in 1877, when the troops were withdrawn from the defeated Confederacy. If there is a enemy today, it is not the South. It is the Republican Party.)

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