And freedom? And why is education power and freedom?
The whole point of the enlightenment is that knowledge sets us free. “Wherever the people are well informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.” That we are less free than we can, and should, be is the point of Shawn Otto’s book The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It. If you’ve not read it, please do so.
It is also the point of, let’s see … the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Under Trump, these freedoms are threatened daily. We are at a tipping point. A Trump is possible when the politicians and elected officials of this country have taken enough power from the voters that they can make voting itself a non-democratic act. A Trump is possible when ignorance becomes the willed objective of a large portion of the thought leaders of our society. Once a certain point of institutionalized repression of democracy, and a certain point of culturally determined ignorance, are reached, someone like Trump can become president and then, imperialized by whichever powers control him, push us the rest of the way.
That is the point of the best of this year’s Super Bowl commercials. The only one worth watching. In fact, better than the game turned out to be. This is it, from the Washington Post:
Might as well admit it. America has been ruined. Oh, it is fixable, not “totaled” like your car after you roll it down a hill during an ice storm. More like you failed to set the parking break and it got loose and crashed into a brick wall, then some hoodlum broke through the window and ripped out your radio, then there was a hail storm…
Anyway, here is a carefully selected list of books related to Trump and the Trump fake Presidency, integrated with a list of books that are NOT about that, but rather, leadership in history. The former are to get you steamed up, the latter, they are the control rods. A few are just about attacks on democracy from the elite and powerful.
The first thing to do to keep Donald Trump in power is to make sure impeachment does not happen. The way to trick Democrats into going along with this is to use basic political Kung Fu, using their own weight and movement to bring them down.
Democrats want impeachment. So, trick them into insisting that the House file impeachment proceedings as soon as possible. At this point, the Senate, with its Republican Majority, will not convict Trump because all of those Republicans are loyal. Once the Democrats make hay out of impeaching Trump, and fail, they will look like losers, and the party that looks like the losing party will eventually lose. The Democrats will have spent a huge amount of time, effort, money, and political capital, on an effort that can not succeed. Continue reading How to keep Trump in power through 2024 and beyond→
The observant will have noticed that over the last several days, during the closing six weeks of an intense campaign season, I posted as my Facebook banner an image representing each of the United States Presidents, starting with George Washington. There have been several interesting comments and observations made on these images. Special Thanks to Jim Crider, presidential historian, for his added insight on those Facebook posts.
About two fortnights ago, almost all evidence of the Mueller investigation’s progress stopped. This was expected, as it is a Justice Department rule to not do things, like issuing indictments, from several weeks prior to an election, until after the election.
Coincidentally (?), yesterday, a document was released to the public that dates back to the days of Watergate. This document is, in essence, an indictment issued by the Watergate grand jury, bring charges against Nixon. However, since the policy was to not actually indict a sitting president, this special indictment was given, not to a federal prosecutor, but to the US House judiciary.
So, there are two things floating around in my head that I’m wondering about.
First, and most obvious, is this: Will next Wednesday, or at least, the latter half of next week and perhaps a day or two into the next work week, see a series of actions from Mueller? And if so, what?
Second, and less obvious, is this: The document that was released yesterday isn’t just a grand jury document, but also, the decision by a federal judge that this grand jury indictment-thingie should properly be passed to the house, secretly, just as a normal indictment would be passed to a federal prosecutor, secretly. The secrecy part is just because all grand jury proceedings are secret. It is then up to the prosecuting body to make things public by carrying out actual indictments and prosecutions, or in the case of the house, impeachment.
The point is, it is now federal case law that a Grand Jury investigating a president can hand over what would normally be an indictment to pass on to a federal prosecutor to the House Judiciary Committee, for their consideration. It is secret when that happens, and if the committee decides, it can remain secret.
So, is it possible that the Mueller grand jury has already written one of these embryonic indictments, and is planning to hand it over after the election? Or after the new House is sworn in? Depending on how the election goes????
Is it possible, in fact, that such a document has already been handed over, and is being ignored by the Republican leadership in the House? If so, will it be resubmitted to the new Congress later?
I suggested several weeks ago that there would not be any action until after the election. Now, I’m noting that the election is about to happen, so we can expect … something.
Nobody wants Trump to visit Pittsburgh, where multiple funerals are being held today for those slaughtered in the trump-hate-fueled antisemitic massacre that happened over the weekend. And, now, the top two leaders in each party in Congress have said that they will not accompany Trump.
This is all happening this afternoon, when Trump and his immigrant-wife-who-doesn’t-care plan to arrive, unwanted and despised, in Pennsylvania.
One of the main reasons people in this community, and their supporters, don’t want Trump to show up is that he blamed the victims, saying that they should have had armed guards at their synagogue. According to the Washington Post, Stephen Halle, nephew of one of the victims, said of these remarks, “Everybody feels that they were inappropriate. He was blaming the community. A church, a synagogue, should not be a fortress. It should be an open welcoming place to feel safe.”
What will people do if he tries to hone in on a funeral? There are protests planned. Will there be counter-protesters? Keep an eye on the news for this one.
The United States Constitution states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
The particular subset of this obvious provision that is sometimes questioned is jus soli, literally meaning, right of the soil.
This is and was a part of English Common Law, which is a good point of reference for any ambiguity, as though there were any ambiguity. It means that if you are born here you get to be a citizen here. A fairly common exception made to jus soli birthright citizenship is for diplomats or similar, people who are also treated to some degree as though they are not actually here at all. So, if a diplomat can commit a felony but not be prosecuted, then they can’t drop a baby and have it be granted citizenship. But otherwise, the interpretation, though fought many times in the courts by nationalists and other asshats, is straightforward.
The reason this is even a thing right now is because the Republicans, under Russian-owned and controlled Donald Trump, are against it, and Trump plans to produce an executive order reversing jus soli for brown people. What’s next? Removing citizenship from anyone who’s home land is not an actual state? (Like Puerto Rico?)
News outlets breathlessly report that “America is on edge” that mailed bombs “cause fear” or that we are experiencing the “politics of the apocalypse” (not sure what that means exactly).
I have yet to see an expression of fear or edginess on the part of any of the recipients of these bombs, or their surrogates. Democrats are concerned about civilization, the future, our children, our planet, education, the environment. Attacks on these key elements of society cause concern, and Democrats fight those attacks. Democratic values don’t include being afraid. Nobody is afraid.
To be clear, over the last three years, Donald Trump has publicly compiled an enemies list, that includes President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Vice President Obama, George Soros, Maxine Waters, Director Brennan, AG Holden, and several others. This enemies list has been converted into a hit list, and a fake bomber, or an utterly incompetent bomber (not sure which is better), has taken on the obvious task of attempting to terrorize those individuals. For now, I’ll assume that the lack of a bomb in Elizabeth Warren’s mailbox is the slowness of the postal system around Boston this time of year.
There is an attack going on, but not one that will do anything but elevate paragraphs about Trump’s hatred and his enemies list to an earlier position in the eventual Wikipedia page on his regime.
Midterm years are all about two things: Referendum on the president (negative or positive) and voter enthusiasm. These two things are not unconnected.
There is a direct relationship between the president’s approval rating, which is normally low in the midterm year, and how badly the president’s party is shellacked at the voting booth.
There is a direct relationship between how enthusiastic voters are by party and how well a party does in the congressional races.
Right now, President Trump’s approval rating is rising. Going up. Improving. That means that his party’s candidates will not do too badly.
More importantly, though, is the enthusiasm numbers for voters. In a year in which there is a “wave” of one party’s or the others, that party’s voters have a relatively higher enthusiasm measure in polling. The absolute amount of enthusiasm is not the problem. The problem is the relative enthusiasm rate.
Right now, both parties have a high enthusiasm rate, and more importantly, they are the same. There is not statistical difference between how enthusiastic Republicans are vs. Democrats. They are both a) very enthusiastic and b) the same.
This pretty much cancels out any hope of an actual “blue wave.”
Consider earlier years. According to NBC/Wall Street Journal polling, voter enthusiasm for earlier years, and the outcome in congressional house races, break down as follows.
The larger difference in enthusiasm levels seem to have had an effect, and the absolute amount of enthusiasm of the winning party seems to have had an effect. Larger turnovers happened when both effects were strong.
This year, both parties have high enthusiasm, but the level of enthusiasm in both parties is high.
The only way that there could possibly be a blue wave this year, the only way for Democrats to take control of either house in Congress, or to produce any sort of anti-Trump mandate, is to have a large number of people who normally don’t vote show up and vote, or for a large percentage of people who normally vote for Republicans somehow change their minds. Young voters, suburban white women, somebody. Martians. Anybody.
And since those things never actually happen, people who normally don’t vote never actually vote, and people who normally vote one way only vote the other way in support of conservatives or Republicans and never progressives or Democrats, this election will be a disappointment.
We will have a midterm election during the first term of the demonstrably worse president in the 20th or 21st century in which Republicans gain seats in the Senate and Democrats pick up a few seats in the house, but not enough to matter.
Unless Democratic turnout rises to levels that have not been seen since the mid to late 19th century, when turnout was generally high in this country, this is what will happen: The Republicans will add between 1 and 3 seats to their majority in the Senate, and the Democrats will close the gap with the republicans by up to but not more than 20 seats, with the Republicans retaining the majority. And Trump and McConnell will be handed a mandate.
Then we are going to have to start asking ourselves what we are doing wrong.
In the early days of the 1972 election, President Richard Nixon, seeking re-election, faced a number of potentially tough challengers, and the strongest one may have been Senator Edmund Muskie. Among all the possible Democratic candidates emerging at the time, Nixon wanted to run against the one he saw as the weakest, George McGovern.
So he arranged that.
The Nixon dirty tricks team (which included at least one person active in recent years on the Trump dirty tricks team) fabricated a letter supposedly written by Muskie that served to discredit him as a candidate. That was one of several different fraudulent moves made against Muskie and other candidates.
The Democrats dutifully tossed Muskie and all the other candidates under the bus and ran George McGovern against Richard Nixon.
The following presidential election was won by outsider Democrat Jimmy Carter. It is generally recognized that Carter’s win was in large part due to the country being tired of cheating Republicans, following the Watergate affair. The hit job on Muskie and other candidates was not forgotten, but had been absorbed into the larger array of illegal and unethical activities by the Republicans.
Owing largely to the Iran Hostage crisis, the country lost faith in Carter, and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Another significant factor was a third party candidate, Anderson, who took away mainly Carter votes.
Reagan was re-elected in 1984.
The 1988 election required that the Democrats get a strong candidate to run against Reagan’s vice president, George Bush. They did. The up and coming, popular, and highly qualified Gary Hart was the obvious candidate, and from early on was assumed to be the nominated one, and a likely next president.
But then something bad happened. Gary Hart was taken out of the running. The National Enquirer ran a story placing Hart in the company of a loose woman on a suspicious boat called “Monkey Business” in the Caribbean. There was even a photo of the woman, Donna Rice, siting on Hart’s lap.
The Democrats quickly tossed Hart under the bus, and put forward Mike Dukakis as their candidate. Let me note that Dukakis was a very good governor of Massachusetts, and would have made a good president.
This may or may not be a side story: When Dukakis was running, there was a famous photograph taken of him in a tank wearing a too-large helmet, looking goofy. This appeared to disqualify him as president to a lot of voters.
Also during the primary, came the “Willie Horton” affair, a racist ploy to make Dukakis look like he was weak on crime.
This led to further weakening of Dukakis’s campaign.
We now know that the Hart Monkey Business monkey business business was a setup by Lee Atwater, a Republican dirty tricks guy. We also now know that the racist and inaccurate Horton attack ads were Atwater work as well. (See Was Gary Hart Set Up?)
The 2016 election was probably won by Republican Trump in part because of the discrediting of the Democratic candidate, Clinton, using lies and misdirection. There are also some who would argue that Sanders should have been the candidate, but efforts to keep him out of the race caused Clinton to win the primaries. I’m pretty sure that is not true, but if you happen to think it is true, do check on the possibility that Sanders’ campaign was damaged at least in part by outside nefarious forces of Republican or Puto-Russian origin. Just in case.
Anyway, you can imagine how different the world would be today if Muskie had been elected president. Or Hart. Or Dukakis.
Today, we are seeing this happening again, I think.
Elizabeth Warren, the most viable current candidate to represent the Democratic Party in 2020, according to many, had made a reference in the past to her own heritage. Her heritage, her right.
The Racist Republican Don the Con Trump used that opportunity to attack “Pocahontas” Warren. Democrats thought this was despicable.
Much more recently, just now, Warren happens to have done a DNA test of her heritage, and found out the interesting, quaint, and largely unimportant fact that what her family had been telling her all along, that many generations back she had a Native American ancestor, is likely true given the genetic markers in her DNA. As is her right, she made this public.
What Senator Warren did is this: She challenged a made up, racist, insulting accusation made by Don the Con Trump, with a fact.
The result? Repeated outcries BY DEMOCRATS that this was not a good communications move, and therefore ELIZABETH WARREN IS NO LONGER QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT.
Excuse me, fellow Democrats, but I have something for you:
To the people who are jumping on this Never Warren She Did DNA OMG!!!!! bandwagon, many of whom are friends or colleagues whom I truly respect: Please think about the damage you are doing, and fucking stop doing it.