hungeski's blog

Basic Reason to Block Trump SCOTUS Pick: Justice


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(Analysis.) Many liberal thinkers have put forth good reasons for senators to reject President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. People for the American Way, one of a coalition of groups that delivered block-Gorsuch petitions with one million online signatures, cited his ...

troubling views and record when it comes to siding with wealthy and powerful interests, over the rights of working people, women, and the disabled.

Righteous Locals Help Syrian Refugee Family Settle in Pennsylvanian Town

Cross Lady Liberty comforts refugee child. Seen in London at rally against Trump's travel ban, 30 Jan 2017. (Alisdare Hickson from Canterbury, United Kingdom (CC-SA))

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. -- Jesus of Nazareth

On January 27, President Donald Trump issued an order banning entry to the U.S. of persons from certain Muslim-majority countries, and of all refugees. The sudden enforcement of that order drew 1000's of people to the nation's airports, and elsewhere around the world, to stand against religious discrimination and for due process of law, and to support refugees and those blocked by the travel ban. It also drew this comment from one person who has been working to help refugees settle:

When I see refugees now being shut off like that, I think, ‘How on earth can we be so hardhearted,’ ” said Harley Kooker, who first worked with refugees in Vietnam as a conscientious objector to that war. “I was always taught that we love whoever regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, you know, that’s who my Jesus is, that’s what my Jesus taught.”

Trump Takes Big Step towards Impeachment

UsConstitutionPage2emolument_400w.jpg
By taking the office of U.S. president Friday, Donald Trump has also taken a big step towards impeachment. That fact has crossed the mind of at least one member of the House. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who is a constitutional law professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and the director of the university’s Program on Law and Government Leadership, said:

"Right now (January 18) it looks pretty obvious that [Trump]'s on a collision course with the Emoluments Clause" ... "He has refused to divest himself of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of business interests he has around the world doing business with foreign governments."

...

"[The Emoluments Clause] says that no elected official, either member of Congress or the president of the United States, can accept a gift, an emolument or any payment at all from a foreign government." ... "He [Trump] just simply refuses to accept that reality. So if he goes into office and he refuses to divest himself, the moment that the first conflict comes up, that's going to look like an impeachable offense."

Democrats Should Win on Values, Jesus

'The Sermon on the Mount' by Claude Lorrain, 1656

(Analysis.) "All politics is moral," writes cognitive scientist and author George Lakoff. For years he has counseled Democrats on winning hearts and minds from the dishonest, but effective, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh-style Republican propaganda.

[S]tart with values, not policies and facts and numbers. Say what you believe, but haven't been saying. For example, progressive thought is built on empathy, on citizens caring about other citizens and working through our government to provide public resources for all, both businesses and individuals. Use history. That’s how America started. The public resources used by businesses were not only roads and bridges, but public education, a national bank, a patent office, courts for business cases, interstate commerce support, and of course the criminal justice system. From the beginning, the Private Depended on Public Resources, both private lives and private enterprise.

Over time those resources have included sewers, water and electricity, research universities and research support: computer science (via the NSF), the internet (ARPA), pharmaceuticals and modern medicine (the NIH), satellite communication (NASA and NOA), and GPS systems and cell phones (the Defense Department). Private enterprise and private life utterly depend on public resources. ... And stop defending “the government.” Talk about the public, the people, Americans, the American people, public servants, and good government. And take back freedom. Public resources provide for freedom in private enterprise and private life.

The conservatives are committed to privatizing just about everything and to eliminating funding for most public resources. The contribution of public resources to our freedoms cannot be overstated. Start saying it.

Of course, having, as the Republicans do, hundreds of radio stations and a major news network devoted to the messaging would greatly help. Still, every liberal-minded person that speaks a clear message grounded in values, whether to one or a million-and-one, would also help.

Six Simple Ideas to Strengthen Democracy in America

Ms. Liberty Bears Six Good Ideas

Fair and reliable elections, an informed citizenry, wide participation in governance -- these are cornerstones of democracy. But the recent election in the U.S.A. has pointed out serious cracks in those stones. Gerrymandered districts weakened voters of one party, and made races non-competitive. Recently-erected hurdles stopped many from voting. Big media focused on the horse race, and ignored policy issues. Persons trafficked in misleading and fake news on social media. And, in the end, demagogy and crackpottery carried the day. What follows are six simple ideas that can, I think, be easily implemented, and that might well go a long way toward fixing those cracks and strengthening our democracy.

36 Years Down the Republican Rabbit Hole

In "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Lewis Carroll tells the story of Alice, a more-or-less average curious, rational child, who, on a dreamy summer day, chases a waistcoat-wearing white rabbit down a rabbit hole into a bizarre land. In this, and in a later book ("Through the Looking-Glass"), we find many strange characters producing many puzzling and irrational quotes. For instance, we have the giant talking egg, Humpty Dumpty:

When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master—that's all.'

And we have the Queen of Hearts, who is quite quick to propose simple, brutal solutions:

[The King] called the Queen, who was passing at the moment, 'My dear! I wish you would have this cat removed!'
The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said, without even looking round.

... and, when the Dormouse spoke out of turn in court:

'Collar that Dormouse,' the Queen shrieked out. 'Behead that Dormouse! Turn that Dormouse out of court! Suppress him! Pinch him! Off with his whiskers!'

An observer of American politics since 1980 or so, might well picture oneself as, like Alice, having gone down the rabbit-hole to find many strange Republicans, who, like the characters in Wonderland, issue puzzling and irrational quotes. Over the decades, here are just a few of the characters we have met, as we went down, down, down ...