August 26, 2013
About the Law

March 8, 2013
The Preamble gives the Lie to Tea Pub Claims

I am so tired of the false claims of the Tea Party about the constitution. Let’s take on their big one. The claim that the constitution was written to “LIMIT” the powers of the federal government and preserve the sovereignty of the individual states. Nothing could be more historically incorrect and easily disproved. First simply look at the reason we needed a NEW constitution. The Articles of Confederation, which actually did promote state sovereignty, had failed miserably.

One needs only to look at the Preamble itself, the stated reason for writing a new constitution to tag this self serving theme a lie.

 ”We the people of the United States, in order to form a “MORE PERFECT UNION”( Now what was wrong with the old union that was… ahem, not perfect?) establish Justice, ( apparently loose organization of sovereign states was not protecting the equal justice of American citizens, sound familiar?), insure domestic tranquility. ( Seems that there was trouble in River City) provide for the common defense, ( Makes sense. Can you imagine how many wars we would have if each state tried to settle it’s own gripes?) Promote the general welfare, (Now this is a dandy since the Teapubs are so adamant that the constitution prevents this) and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. .Nuff said!

May 10, 2012
motherjones:

Aaaaaaaaand scene.

motherjones:

Aaaaaaaaand scene.

April 30, 2012
How to achieve American Unexceptionalism

By E. L. DOCTOROW

To achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:

April 28, 2012

PHASE ONE

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.

If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.

Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices.

Take to torturing terrorism suspects, here or abroad, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Unilaterally abrogate the Convention Against Torture as well as the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Commit to indeterminate detention without trial those you decide are enemies. For good measure, trust that legislative supporters will eventually apply this policy as well to American citizens.

Suspend progressive taxation so that the wealthiest pay less proportionately than the middle class. See to it that the wealth of the country accumulates to a small fraction of the population so that the gap between rich and poor widens exponentially.

By cutting taxes and raising wartime expenditures, deplete the national treasury so that Congress and state and municipal legislatures cut back on domestic services, ensuring that there will be less money for the education of the young, for government health programs, for the care of veterans, for the maintenance of roads and bridges, for free public libraries, and so forth.

Deregulate the banking industry so as to create a severe recession in which enormous numbers of people lose their homes and jobs.

Before you leave office add to the Supreme Court justices like the ones who awarded you the presidency.

PHASE TWO

If you’re one of the conservative majority of a refurbished Supreme Court, rule that corporations, no less than human beings, have the right under the First Amendment to express their political point of view. To come to this judgment, do not acknowledge that corporations lack the range of feelings or values that define what it is to be human. That humans can act against their own interest, whereas corporations cannot act otherwise than in their own interest. That the corporation’s only purpose is to produce wealth, regardless of social consequences.

This decision of the court will ensure tremendous infusions of corporate money into the political process and lead to the election in national and state legislatures of majorities of de facto corporate lobbyists.

PHASE THREE

Given corporate control of legislative bodies, enact laws to the benefit of corporate interests. For example, those laws sponsored by weapons manufacturers wherein people may carry concealed weapons and shoot and kill anyone by whom they feel threatened.

Give the running of state prisons over to private corporations whose profits increase with the increase in inmate populations. See to it that a majority of prisoners are African-American.

When possible, treat immigrants as criminals.

Deplete and underfinance a viable system of free public schools and give the education of children over to private for-profit corporations.

Make college education unaffordable.

Inject religious precepts into public policy so as to control women’s bodies.

Enact laws prohibiting collective bargaining. Portray trade unions as un-American.

Enact laws restricting the voting rights of possibly unruly constituencies.

Propagandize against scientific facts that would affect corporate profits. Portray global warming as a conspiracy of scientists.

Having subverted the Constitution and enervated the nation with these measures, portray the federal government as unwieldy, bumbling and shot through with elitist liberals. Create mental states of maladaptive populism among the citizenry to support this view.

PHASE FOUR

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, decide that the police of any and all cities and towns and villages have the absolute authority to strip-search any person whom they, for whatever reason, put under arrest.

With this ruling, the reduction of America to unexceptionalism is complete.

E. L. Doctorow is the author, most recently of the novel “Homer and Langley.”

April 13, 2012
Knee Jerk Activism

I have been engaged of late in an experiment. I ask my conservative friends about the Dodd Frank Act and they go ballistic. “Job Killer” they say. “We don’t need big Government regulating Markets and telling us what to do. Best left to the free market system.” Then I ask them that since they don’t like Dodd Frank, if they at least think that we should have some restraints on banks about gambling with taxpayer protected investments and preventing the government from bailing out more of them. “Absolutely” they say. I go on to Transparency about what investments are and stopping the horseplay with derivatives. “Oh sure”. Then I tell them that is exactly what Dodd Frank does and they look at me with the Deer/ Headlights gaze. The conservatives are becoming so reactionary that they don’t even care to look at what they are outraged about. Just point the Fox finger and automatic outrage goes rampant. And, as usual, they accuse us of that, as their defense.

April 5, 2012
Letter to Santorum

Thanks to Pat S (Rocky) for this:

Dear Friends,

I have been greatly moved by Rick S antorum’s wise and pious pronouncements, guided by Biblical principles, especially those concerning marriage. Of course, he believes that sexual intercourse should only be engaged in for purposes of procreation (he says he has never worn a condom), but there are some other gray areas I was hoping he could clear up, so I wrote him the following letter:

Dear S en. S antorum:

Thank you for doing so much to educate us regarding God’s Eternal Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, which of course is an abomination.

As you said, “In the eyes of God, marriage is based between a man and a woman.” I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how I might obey them:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies only to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you
clarify? Can I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? ( S he works hard, but does eat a lot.)

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev. 14: 19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking when meeting young women at church socials, but
most of them seem to take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is with my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. S hould I smite them, or would
Lysol work?

5. I have a neighbor, Aaron Rogers, who insists on working on the S abbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? And how
good is the Packers backup QB?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev.11:10) it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination? What about a homosexual at an oyster bar?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I do wear glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? What about contacts?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? I know they must be put to death, but I do not know the recommended method. .

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field (I think corn and alfalfa). And his wife wears garments made from two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev. 24:10-16). Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14).

10. And last, I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. May I still play football if I wear gloves?

I know that you are very busy with your presidential campaign, but, if you get a chance, I would really like your guidance on these critical and disturbing issues.

Thank you again for reminding us of the eternal and unchanging truth of the Holy Bible. God bless you. And may He guide you in your quest to lead this great nation of ours.

S incerely,

April 1, 2012
the myths

THIS FROM ALAN GRAYSON:


A month ago, I wrote a note called “The Myths That Are Killing Us” – the hard myths that no Republicans, and very few Democrats, ever challenge. Here was my list:

  1. The Government can’t create jobs. (Tell that to FDR, who created four million jobs in three months.)
  2. Tax cuts reduce the deficit. (Doesn’t it bother them that a man named “Laffer” came up with this one?)
  3. A fetus is a baby.
  4. The poor have too much money.
  5. Cutting the federal deficit will end the recession.
  6. The rich are incentivized by tax cuts, while the poor are incentivized by lower wages, no benefits, an end to the minimum wage, and unemployment.
  7. An unwanted child is God’s will.
  8. Everyone who wants health insurance has it.
  9. The problem with education is the teachers.
  10. The “free market” satisfies every human need.
  11. There is no discrimination in America anymore.
  12. The distribution of wealth and income are irrelevant.

Well, this list seems to have provoked a lot of thought among us. Since I regard what we do as a collective endeavor, I want to share with you some of the best of this crowdsourcing by our audience – 20 more destructive myths:

  1. One gender is better than the other, one race is superior to all others, and there is only one true religion.
  2. You can get any medical treatment that you need, for free, in any hospital emergency room.
  3. Ronald Reagan won the Cold War.
  4. The environment can protect itself.
  5. It is better for America to be feared than loved.
  6. Only the wealthy create jobs.
  7. America is a Christian nation.
  8. Human beings are not the cause of climate change.
  9. Minority women have children in order to qualify for welfare.
  10. President Obama wants to take away our guns.
  11. The more we spend on the military, the safer we are.
  12. Corporations use tax cuts to hire people.
  13. The unemployed are lazy and stupid.
  14. Rich people are smarter than everyone else.
  15. We will never run out of oil.
  16. Invading foreign countries wins hearts and minds.
  17. Science is a matter of opinion.
  18. Instigating unnecessary wars shows your support for the troops.
  19. Corporations are people.
  20. Money is speech.

Every one of these myths is fascinating in its own right. You could write a whole book about each of them. So to the supporters who contributed to this list, thank you. I’m listening and learning.  

March 8, 2012
Paul Krugman: Finally, Spain

The real euro crisis comes into focus.

March 1, 2012
Paul Krugman: Four Phonies Update

Voodoo, not responsibility.

January 18, 2012
Paul Krugman: Untruths, Wholly Untrue, And Nothing But Untruths

Romney’s effort to make Bush look honest.

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