Archive for Courts

Lessons Unlearned, POTUS Version

A certain Donny Jo Trump, the incidental POTUS learns not. He returns to the dry well, ever expecting water.

Most recently, as one example, the federal appeals court in Richmond told him to take a hike. His clearly religion-based proposed travel ban has lost throughout the country, as unconstitutional, a clear violation of our First Amendment. Yet, Donny goes back again and again, pausing only to decry the unfairness (to him personally) of this or that court.

Alas. our titular President proves repeatedly that is both grossly ignorant and stupid. How embarrassing for us as a nation… He neither understands how our government or laws work nor human obligations to others.

We can only conclude:

  • He never took nor got civics as taught to the Boomers
  • He does not understand such basic concepts as separation of powers among governmental branches
  • He’s an inherited-wealth mama’s boy, who whines when he doesn’t get his way all the time

I have both patriotism, again as taught to Boomers, and ego in play here. I want my POTUS to be bright, compassionate, and, well American. He is none of those.

The old lad has survived to 70 without the basics of Americanism. Worst of all, he stupidly runs into the same walls. No, you don’t get your way because you inherited wealth. No, you don’t get a pass on the Constitution because your mother loved you. No, trying the same inane executive order does not suddenly make it legal when one court after another slaps you down.

Just too dumb.

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Trump, Kellyanne, Steve — F the First Amendment

This old journalist is weary and wary of the Trump administration whining about and now threatening the press. I do believe though that he and his minions are far overplaying their hands, apparently believing their own hype and tripe that the public hates the media.

Consider advisers Steve Bannon and Kelleyanne Conway constant drumbeats of a corrupt and dishonest media. Just now, listen to them saying reporters and commentators need to shut up and listen instead of reporting and commentating, click here for words from one one of these horses.

Throughout the campaign and now into his Presidency, Trump played mommy’s boy again and again with how the press is so unfair and so dishonest and so corrupt…when they dared to quote him accurate or point out that he meant with his own words. To use one of his favorite tweet terms, that is SAD.

It’s no surprise, he is known for the Pee-wee Herman thing, as in I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. In campaign and now POTUS modes, he slandered everyone with nonsensical slurs. It was Corrupt Hillary when he has long been the business type who faced and faces corruption charges, quite a few of which he’s settled (without admitting blame, just paying the fines and such). He calls reporters and news outlets dishonest when he has a huge catalog of Pinocchio and False findings from nonpartisan fact checkers.

Sorry, Donny poo. It’s not the media who are unfair and dishonest.

I do fear he and his closest will continue to try to curtail the First Amendment. He neither respects nor understands our Constitution. Conway has already been calling for journalists who criticize him to be fired.

Here’s where his dirty little inner circle is miscalculating. Prior restraint and illegal punishment of reporters has been an anathema to American democracy. It appears as though Trump and his crowd believe they have so poisoned the public against the press that they can circumvent or override our Bill of Rights. I hope they continue to try. The smack down will be very loud.

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Stump Trump the Way He Understands

The inevitable came quickly for our still surprised and unprepared POTUS. A firm thump to his thick skull came when his arbitrary and unconstitutional immigrant ban orders got an equally sudden block by Fed judge.

That was more than just the lives of the stranded salvaged, it is sure portent. Trump is so puerile and emotional, he is bound to continue to thrust out arbitrary and ill-conceived edicts. Some are bound to run afoul of those checks and balances so popular in the civics classes we all used to take. Overreaching will mean legal hand slaps and even legislative handcuffs for the most egregious.

This doesn’t so much play to Trump’s weaknesses as it does move the political game to a field he knows well. He has lived his entire career for legal actions and gambits.

Knowing he faces certain losses here and there won’t make him more cautious or wiser. In fact, in his bizarro world, he’ll frame each loss as a win and smirk his way to his next blunder.

The hustler who blithely claims he doesn’t lose lawsuits and doesn’t settle them does both. He simply denies that or even more irrationally claims he came out on top of the situation.

Our task will be to rise above the deceit. Do not get into a spitting contest with a liar. Let him orally reframe his losses as wins. Ho hum.

Let us anticipate four years of cockups, some of which will lead to corrective legal or legislative actions. Let us anticipate a torrent of quibbles and outright lies to follow. That torrent will not cleanse the mind or eye of even the most casual observer. Let us expect Trump to continue to expose himself as incompetent and impulsive, in another words, a loser.

 

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Whither Dems Podcast

rightsign2The Trump win Tuesday is the right time to stop these weekly podcasts after 9½ years. Watch this URL for occasional commentary, maybe a little video…later.

Today was my usual half-Vulcan Spock self.

We shall survive as a nation, as we did during and after the George W. Bush time. He ruined the economy even more than the typical Republican. We haven’t climbed all the way out of his debt pit. We’ll never get back the many thousands of lives lost to war and jobs destroyed. I fear more of that from Trump.

I snort as Speaker Ryan and GOP sorts claim mandate. The lost the popular vote, held the House only due to gerrymandering in previous years, and hold a paper-thin Senate majority. Mandate, my bad head!

We don’t yet know what malicious laws Congress will try to enact. We do know that the wave of emotion that brought us President Trump is as irrational and ignorant as he. We need look no farther than comparing the cries of do-nothing Congress and throw the rascal out to right-wing voters keeping nearly all the do-nothings and rascals from the GOP in office. Huge duh.

We’ll surely have at least two years of pettiness and malice. As the economy slides and unemployment climbs, even the loudest Trumpettes will feel shame. Let us look historically to see in the last century that again and again Dems have rescued the nation after the GOP has goofed it up.

It’s going to be a rough, disheartening, anti-American two to four years.

icon for podpress  Whither Dems [18:22m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Divert Political Anger With All-Dem DC

Independents and self-described Conservatives are pissed. Number one is Congress does nothing. That’s hard to argue with but easy to fix.

Let’s consider for a moment the odious Donald Trump’s “What do you have to lose?” That’s jive from the con artist. Yet that question haunts.

If all the angry voters, or even most of them, get real on November 8th, the fix is before them. Elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Senate. Then watch and wonder. The obstructionism we all despise will vanish. The do-nothing Congress will become a do-it-all legislature.

Four or eight years of a healthier, richer, more righteous America await.

Each and all of us tend to love our memes and clichés, even the most irrational and unsupported ones. Beware those who orate and proclaim of their statements, “It’s only common sense.” Nearly always that means, “I got nothing here. Just don’t question or challenge me.”

I grew up hearing what I still do about U.S. civics. A recurring theme is that you need to divide government to keep it in check. At its worst, as i the past eight years, we have seen check become checkmate. The do-nothing Congress, both GOP-led houses, dragged our economic recovery, stymied expanded health care and on and on.

The “common sense” types pretend that Dems are monolithic and wildly leftists, instead of the wishy-washy moderates nearly all are. The likes of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two lighthouses in an unmoving sea of blah.

Electing a Dec-controlled Senate and ideally matching it was a Dem House could mean only what they right wingers and angry voters of all stripe have screamed for — a Congress that accomplishes the necessary, passes legislation and moves America forward.

Liberal/Conservative SCOTUS leanings and votes here.

One of many economists’ papers showing how much better the U.S. economy does with a Democratic POTUS. Reasons are debatable; results are not.

icon for podpress  All-Dem DC: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Four Questions for MA Voters

bwak

MA, thanks to the legislative gods, is not at the head of ballot initiatives. That onerous crown still belongs to CA. There, virtually any crackpot with a loony fetish can get it on the statewide ballot, given enough petition signatures. Here at least, all proposals go through that process, then a stringent screen by the Attorney General for legal stuff like constitutionality, and then legislative action in one or two sessions.

For fun, look at the AG’s filings here and Ballotopedia’s who-made-the-cut table.

Eventually the laggard Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office will mail a booklet to registered voters listing the details of the four questions on November’s sheet. I’m a warden at a Boston polling place and I suspect that 90% or more of voters won’t read the booklet and arrive ignorant.

Pity, there are some goodies that made the cut. I deal with:

Q1: Expanding slot machine gaming.

Q2: Charter School Expansion.

Q3: Conditions for farm animals.

Q4: Legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

I give an example or two of what didn’t make the ballot and why.

If you’re like most of my precinct’s voters what you want is the word. I can’t say on election day, but my call, just for you, is N, N, Y and Y.

icon for podpress  2016 MA Ballot Questions [29:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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:Hillary’s Email (Eek! Mail) Podcast

No free ride for Hillary Clinton. Yes, the FBI cleared her of criminal wrongdoing in its probe of her use of private email servers. Yet, it deemed that doing so was “extremely careless” and in particular did not follow federal protocols for archiving government records.

Those who hated and slandered her before are not about to start publicly apologizing to her or those in their social-media feeds. Plus, the fast majority of us who have been saying for a year or more that this would be the result also haven’t changed our opinion.

My questions were more along the lines of what does this mean to the third to half of the electorate who hadn’t totally made up their minds? I talk through why I think it will be a wash for her. The moderates and independents are likely to be more open to her. She’ll be a bump from the pending Democratic convention. The Hillary and sick-of-Democrats-in-the-White-House types won’t change their minds at all. I bet she’ll get a very modest bump in the polls when this settles.

 

icon for podpress  Hillary's Eek-mail [22:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Responsibility?

A current mean is asking whether something is “still a thing.” Let’s consider personal responsibility in that big pile.

Perhaps the most obvious cases are the far too many caught on video and by witnesses where cops kill unarmed, non-threatening civilians and face zero punishment or even charges. “I felt threatened” seems too often to immediately convince prosecutors and internal-affairs sorts that all is right.

It isn’t. We see in other professions as well (think doctors and financial execs) that self-policing and such oversight are risible. Cultural change is necessary.

The ideas and ideals boomers saw and heard everywhere included being held accountable for bad actions. Books, movies and of course parents and clerics taught that if you did something bad, there were consequences.

The norm now is what tricks can you pull to avoid punishment or even accusation. Bad drivers skate with “unfortunate accident” for their most egregious, fatal sins.

Enough with this.

icon for podpress  Responsibility? [20:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Finding a new Nino, SCOTUS replacement

That suddenly vacated Supreme Court seat could sit for 11 to 13 months before the next President touches the Bible.

The real subject before us is how to bring the SCOTUS up to its 9 justices. However, let us not fall prey to the urge to overly praise Antonin Scalia. Everyone from President Obama to plain old lawyers have tried to outdo each other calling him brilliant and a towering figure.

In reality, he was petty and puerile. His deeply held and often emotionally based dicta on the law and Constitution were skewed by politics and worse. He strongly and anachronistically voted for states-rights interpretations of law from marriage to equal opportunity in education to women’s rights.

Let us not confuse cleverness with brilliance. He was quick to insult without intellect. Disdaining a group such as homosexuals is no excuse for harming them. He clearly did not believe in the editing adage that if you have fallen in love with a phrase, cut it out of the text.

Dems need only 4 Senate seats to take control again. Here’s betting that if GOP Senators refuse to have hearings or vote on a SCOTUS nominee, that could make the difference in the 24 races the GOP faces in the Senate in November. If they have any wit and sense of self-preservation, they’ll deal on one of the tepid centrists Obama would surely nominate.

icon for podpress  SCOTUS Replacement [22:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Dead Scalia still roiling the waters

ghostscotus

Around tomorrow (WED. 2/17) at 2:30 Eastern)? Will your brain be in gear? If so feel free to call in at tell me your truth about filling the suddenly vacated Supreme Court seat in the 11 months before the next President touches the Bible. Call (718) 664-6966 then and make sure your phone number is not blocked — (718) 664-6966. Go here for the live show or to catch it on demand later.

You can be sure I’ll have my opinions and I shall fill the slot without you if that’s hjow you want it.

Consider:

  • President Barack Obama has a Constitutional duty to nominate a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • The GOP has a Senate majority and before Scalia’s corpse left Texas their leaders were swearing to block ANY nominee from the Dem Prez.
  • There are huge cases (think voting rights and abortion for two) next session.
  • Right now the left/right wings are evenly split after many years of a 4/5 favoring conservatives.
  • A divided court decision in effect upholds lower federal court rulings, which lean left.
  • The Senate must approve any nominee but is not required to hear or vote on any.
  • 24 Republican Senate seats are up for reelection in November and no one can be sure how voters will treat obstructionist, duty-shirking sitting Senators.

Call in or leave me to go on by myself.

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