Friday, May 31, 2024

Take a Hike, Pal



There are "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" and "even a blind squirrel finds an acorn"; others, probably.  And when not talking about the Middle East, Mehdi Hasan is almost always right.

There is not a snowball's chance in Hell that reporters will demand Republicans explain why Donald Trump shouldn't have to drop out of the presidential race. As economist Dean Baker would put it, "the major media outlets are owned and controlled by people who will pay lower taxes with Donald Trump back in the White House." 

There is a snowball's chance in Hell that most Democrats will demand that Trump drop out of the race. But only a snowball's chance.  In an article article noting that the Biden Administration is determined not to address the corruption of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sam Alito, Politico writes

Biden has publicly warned that Republicans are undermining democratic norms and threatening its institutions. But he is reluctant to extend that argument to the judicial branch, aides say, fearful it could be cast as politically motivated and undermine his broader effort to portray himself as a champion for strengthening democratic institutions. They believe it’s crucial to maintain a clear contrast with Donald Trump, who has readily attacked an independent judiciary for political gain.

“The central pushback should come from the legislative branch, and not the executive branch,” said Anthony Coley, a former senior official in the Biden Justice Department, arguing that Congress has wide-ranging investigatory authority. “That’s the right place where we should be seeing aggressive oversight, and right now they are not meeting the moment.”

In a development as startling as, oh, Derek Jeter being inducted into the Hall of Fame or snow falling in winter in Siberia, Senate Judiciary Committee chairperson Dick Durbin has decided against holding hearings on Alito.

But if Democratic politicians as usual- are downplaying the importance of the Supreme Court, they cannot ignore the NYC, NY jury's verdict on Trump. They should be pushing in the media the argument that Trump should drop out of the race. If the mainstream media is at all consistent, it will like this idea because it assumes that someone more reasonable and prone to obeying the law and established norms would replace him. Of course, the businessman turned actor turned politician would not step aside but it would remind voters that they are being asked to vote for, and Republicans champion, a crook.

And reporters have their own responsibility which, as Hasan recognizes, is to ask each Republican they can get hold of why Donald Trump should not drop out. When the Republican gets angry or pivots to inflation, gas prices, immigration, or whatever, they should ask again. Again... and again.... and again until they get an answer or time arrives for a commercial break.

In the last week of the 2016 presidential election, as Donald Trump was closing in on Hillary Clinton, the Republican mad a powerful (though dishonest argument argument.  "Hillary is likely to be under investigation for many years, probably concluding in a criminal trial." Two days later he asserted "She'll be under investigation for years. She'll be with trials. Our country, we have to get back to work." There were other, similar remarks but my favorite came two days later when the criminal (as he was then, albeit not yet charged) remarked "Hillary Clinton will be under investigation for a long, long time for her many crimes against our nation, our people, our democracy, likely concluding in a criminal trial."

Democrats could blister the media by pointing out the irony of it all. But they cannot do so without publicly insisting that Donald Trump take a hike, and not wait until Election Day to do so. And they can insist that every reporter explain why he or she won't ask Republican guests and interviews whether they will replace Mr. Trump with a candidate without a criminal record. 

There is a 40+-year-old joke joke asking "what do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean" with the answer "a good start." But just as there are many more than 1,000 lawyers in the USA, this is a good start- but only barely, and must be only the beginning:


                  
           






Thursday, May 30, 2024

If Blacks Had Rampaged



This claim by the President of the United States of America should be, as the fact-checkers would put it, "mostly true."

What do you think he would have done on January 6 if black Americans had stormed- think about this. What do you think would have happened if black Americans had stormed the Capitol? Think about it. This is what would have happened if black Americans had stormed the Capitol. I don't think he would be talking about pardons. This is the same guy who wanted to tear gas you as you peacefully protested George Floyd's murder. The same guy who still calls the Central Park Five....

Oh, yes, the Central Park Five- four juveniles and one adult, blacks and Latinos.  On April 19, 1989 investment banker and jogger Trisha Meili was found in Manhattan's Central Park, having been brutally beaten and raped while jogging there. Police arrested a group comprised of Antra McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise. 

The case drew national attention while Donald Trump's

ad, which ran in local papers less than two weeks after the incident, played a key role in shaping public opinion about the case.

His open letter mourned how New York families of all races “have had to give up the pleasure of a leisurely stroll in the Park at Dusk” because of “roving thousands of wild criminals.” He argued that politicians were overly concerned with public outcry about police brutality — such as the fatal shooting of a disabled elderly black woman by a NYPD officer in the mid-1980s — to the point that they weren’t letting the “neighborhood cop” do his job of protecting the community, creating a “reckless and dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman.” He said “these muggers and murderers…should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.”

 Michael Warren, a member of the Central Park Five legal team, argued in The Guardian in 2016 that Trump "poisoned the minds of many people who lived in New York and who, rightfully, had a natural affinity for the victim"...

While four had given video confessions, they later said those had been coerced and all maintained their innocence. (Studies have shown that false confessions are a particular problem with young suspects.) There were also notable inconsistencies in their statements and other eyewitness accounts.

Still, two juries convicted the five in 1990. They served prison sentences ranging from six years to 13 years.

On Dec. 19. 2002, the convictions of the five men were vacated after a man named Matias Reyes, whose DNA matched evidence from the crime, confessed to having been responsible.

Although Reyes knew details of the crime, for which the statute of limitations had run out, which nobody but the perpetrator would have 

The police department has said it still believes the men were involved in some way and the victim, Meili, has said that she wishes the case had gone back to court because she still believes more than one person was responsible, but the city settled with the five in 2014, giving each roughly $1 million for each year spent behind bars.

President Biden stated that Trump "wanted to tear gas you as you peacefully protested George Floyd's murder." When in June, 2020 President Trump marched through Lafayette Square to St. John's Episcopal Church in order to hold a Bible upside down and demonstrate his godliness, police- as Trump later would assert- did not use pepper spray. However, black lives matter protestors protestors were treated to a barrage of smoke canisters and pepper balls, which also are classified as "riot control agents."

So, mostly true. If a crowd of black Americans had stormed the Capitol on Trump's behalf on January 6, 2021, their race would not have prevented Trump for calling for pardons for the insurrectionists. If that nearly unbelievable event had taken place, he would have called for their pardon and accused the government of racism and Ku Klux Klan tactics. However, if a group had stormed the Capitol in opposition to a President Trump- at least a little more likely- he would have called for mass arrest, probably deportation, and possibly execution.

Just ask the Central Park Five.


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Happy Day for One Man



The very conservative, exceedingly partisan Monica Crowley has an interesting spin on the former President:

At 1:27 of the video below from September of 2020, the former Navy Seal caught the essence of Donald Trump when he noted "To me, his patriotism is a show. It's no different than anything that he's been doing the couple couple of decades on television."


 



The video came on the heels of the September, 2020 report report from Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic that

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.




The fallout from President Donald Trump's decision to skip a ceremony honoring fallen American World War I soldiers in France on Saturday because of the rain grew amid the images of other world leaders defying inclement weather to memorialize the sacrifices of military heroes as part of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

The president and first lady Melania Trump braved a flurry of protesters Sunday, including a woman who charged their motorcade topless with the words "Fake Peacemaker" written across her chest, to attend a ceremony in Paris marking the centennial of the end of WWI at the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees.

The president at the conclusion of his remarks awarded an American flag to Maj. Gen. William Matz, the secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission who gave Trump a tour of the cemetery before he went up to the podium.

"Each of these marble crosses and Stars of David marks the life of an American warrior -- great, great warriors that they are who gave everything for family, country, God and freedom," Trump said in a speech at the cemetery. "Through rain, hail, snow, mud, poisonous gas, bullets and mortar they held the line and pushed onward to victory."

But even as he spoke, the president was still being widely mocked for calling off a planned trip Saturday to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, about 60 miles northeast of Paris, due to rain.

On Saturday morning, the White House sent out a statement, saying, "The President and First Lady's trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather."

While the president and first lady did not attend due to rain, Trump sent an American delegation to the cemetery led by his chief of staff, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"It's incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary -- and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago...," David Frum, a political commentator and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter 

In a follow-up tweet, Frum wrote, "It's not even 60 miles from central Paris to the monument. If the weather is too wet & windy for helicopters, a presidential motorcade could drive the distance in an hour."

Kelly Magsamen, a high-ranking Pentagon official in the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush, heaped on the criticism, tweeting, "Real low energy, @realDonaldTrump to not bother to honor the sacrifice of American soldiers in WWI due to some rain. Somehow everyone else was able to do so today. Obama never had this problem. He also visited our troops in war zones." 

Trump scuttled the trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, where many Americans are buried among the 2,288 graves and where the names of 1,060 American soldiers are engraved on a wall, even as other world leaders attended similar events Saturday at WWI cemeteries and memorials outside Paris.

The contempt for nearly everything American continues.


"Happy Memorial Day" said the former President- because for Donald J. Trump, the thought of hundreds of thousands of Americans having lost their lives in war is truly a cause for celebration. 

 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Plain and Simple



Actually, Jesse, blacks did not particularly like Donald Trump. Some admired Trump, as did many whites, because he was wealthy. Now they, and most whites, know better.

We don't have to go back to the '80s. Try these out for size:

The list of Trump's bigoted and near-bigoted remarks is long, even as of four years ago as of four years ago. In February, 2019, Trump

mocked Ms. (Elizabeth) Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, for her claims to Native American ancestry, again calling her by the slur “Pocahontas.” Mr. Trump then appeared to refer to the Trail of Tears, the infamously cruel forced relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century that caused thousands of deaths.

“Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?” Mr. Trump tweeted. “See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”

A few months later

 


It's not always difficult to criticize Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley for their ideas, actions, or statements. Omar has an, ahem, unhealthy attachment to the nation of her birth, Somalia, and Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, to the fictional country of Palestine. However, Tlaib was born in Detroit, Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx, NY, and Pressley in Cincinnati, Ohio. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati, for goodness sakes.

Trump either knew 3 of the 4 are native-born and claimed otherwise or assumed they all were born abroad, whether because of their ideas, race, or color. Racist or ethnocentric, it was reprehensible.

Similarly


Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, the daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica. Trump likely knew that Harris was born in California, USA but the inventor of birtherism saw that it worked against Barack Obama and figured he'd go with the hits.

Also in 2016, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof explained

My view is that “racist” can be a loaded word, a conversation stopper more than a clarifier, and that we should be careful not to use it simply as an epithet. Moreover, Muslims and Latinos can be of any race, so some of those statements technically reflect not so much racism as bigotry. It’s also true that with any single statement, it is possible that Trump misspoke or was misconstrued.

And yet.

Here we have a man who for more than four decades has been repeatedly associated with racial discrimination or bigoted comments about minorities, some of them made on television for all to see. While any one episode may be ambiguous, what emerges over more than four decades is a narrative arc, a consistent pattern — and I don’t see what else to call it but racism.

Kristof recalled probably the closest connection between Donald Trump and actual racism when

In 1991, a book by John O’Donnell, who had been president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump as criticizing a black accountant and saying: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” O’Donnell wrote that for months afterward, Trump pressed him to fire the black accountant, until the man resigned of his own accord.

Trump eventually denied making those comments. But in 1997 in a Playboy interview, he conceded “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”

Trump's contention that "laziness is a trait in blacks" attributed the alleged laziness of blacks to an inherited, not cultural, attribute, nature not nurture, and fits the classic, textbook, conservative definition of racist. Yet, to be fair, the likely remark was made in decades ago and so does not negate Jesse Watters' claim that there is nothing in Donald Trump's recent past to indicate that the ex-President is racist.

Something is needed to seal the deal, to confirm that the last century's Man of Racism has not erased that horrid characteristic. And so we have Trump just last December speaking of migrants speaking of migrants (emphasis mine)

They're poisoning the blood of our country. That's what they've done. They poisoned mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just the three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world. They're coming into our country from Africa, from Asia -- all over the world.

The last two sentences are relatively inconsequential. Focus on "They're poisoning the blood of our country. That's what they've done."

I know, I know. The left and the center have so often referred to merely bigoted statements and labeled them "racist." And as bad as some of them are, as Kristof understands, some of them are merely bigoted and haven't slipped into racist territory. But as applied to himself, Trump has erased that distinction. That's not nurture, but nature. "Blood" is not culture- it is inherited and denotes- not merely implies- inferiority because of race.

In a commentary in the Wisconsin Examiner a month after Trump's poisoning (our) blood speech, O. Ricardo Pimentel wrote wrote "That would mean my daughter's blood is poisoned because her father is the son of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and her mother white with mostly English and Scottish ancestry."

Legal immigrants and the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, of immigrants should be outraged. Admittedly, it's difficult, with "racism" weaponized through much of the political spectrum, to alert Americans to the danger posed by both the language and the speaker. However, it must be done and can be done. There is a whole lot of Pimentel(s) out there.






Share |

Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Very Bad, Very Convenient, Memory



Bill O'Reilly makes the case for election of Donald Trump, and that warm feeling on your backside is smoke he's blowing up your rear end. Here, he claims

I don't care whether you like Trump or not. Trump governed this nation in a responsible way where everybody prospered. And if you don't believe that, you're a moron. Every single thing, every single indicator was on positive territory. All the working people no matter what color they were were making more money and there were more jobs. We didn't have inflation. We didn't have supply problems. We didn't have any of it. Now we have all of it, in addition to an open border.

What a great country! All the working people were making more money and there were more jobs. Except that, as Vox explains

some of Trump’s signature economic policies have also been found to have had little to no measurable effect on the economy — and a few might have even hurt. Multiple studies have shown that the Trump tariffs at best had a neutral effect on the economy and at worst cost America hundreds of thousands of jobs and higher prices for consumers. And his 2017 tax cuts, which increased investment in the economy and contributed to modest wage growth in the short term, fell far short of Republicans’ promise that they would pay for themselves and are projected to significantly raise federal debt and increase income inequality.

"On the other hand," Biden

faced the immediate task upon assuming office of heading off a recession as the country started to bounce back from the pandemic. The US did recover from that pandemic economic slump. But there is evidence that his policies, including the stimulus checks he issued, contributed to an inflationary spiral. 

The US did, however, manage to curb inflation faster than other economically developed countries, while also maintaining much lower levels of unemployment and higher wage growth.

O'Reilly seems to have forgotten that

Supply chain disruptions rose nearly 70% in 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic leading the way as the most damaging event, according to data from supply chain risk monitoring firm Resilinc, released this week.

The data come from Resilinc’s 2020 EventWatch Report, which analyzes information gathered from the company’s EventWatch AI global event monitoring service. The report shows that supply chain disruptions were up 67% year-over-year in 2020, with 83% of disruptive events being “human caused,” the company said...

Donald Trump was President in 2020, when he constantly assured Americans that the coronavirus would "go away" and "is disappearing," Inflation was low through most of 2020 (but rose to.4.2% in January 2021) because people were sheltered at home and there was little demand for goods and services. O'Reilly says "we didn't have supply problems," a claim which should surprise suppliers and consumers of toilet tissue.

The inflation rate is now 3.4%. At 3.9%, the unemployment rate is at a nearly 50-year low. It was at 6.3% in January, 2021, when Trump left office. (It was at 7.2% and inflation at 4.1% as Saint Reagan carried 49 states on his way to re-election bragging "It's Morning in America Again.")

Bill O'Reilly supports Donald Trump. But facts are facts. In 2017, O'Reilly was worth approximately $85 million and probably is worth much more now. Therefore, Bill he knows that under a President Trump, the tax he pays on his income will be significantly lower. There probably is a connection the two..



Thursday, May 23, 2024

Lady Liberty At Risk


News flash! Donald Trump is a bigot.

This is reminiscent of Louie in Casablanca declaring "I'm shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on in here." And so

Donald Trump once again attacked Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the former president’s criminal trial in Manhattan. This time, he urged those watching to “take a look at where” the Colombia-born Merchan “comes from.”

Trump emerged from court on Tuesday after the proceedings concluded for the day and again addressed the media. As he has done in other post-court appearances, the ex-president read legal analysis from sympathetic pundits such as Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett, who has seldom found a Trump argument he didn’t find to be airtight.

“‘This trial is now officially a sad and pathetic joke,'” Trump said, quoting Jarrett. “‘It’s a crime. Merchan and Bragg are the head clowns. It should be patently obvious to all that the leading Republican candidate for president is on trial not for what he’s done, but for who he is. Trump is the potential nemesis of the Democrats.'”

Jarrett’s analysis went on to say that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “loathes” Trump, as does Merchan. Trump then did some editorializing of his own.

“The judge hates Donald Trump,” the former president insisted. “Just take a look. Take a look at him. Take a look at where he comes from. He can’t stand Donald Trump. He’s doing everything in his power.”

Merchan was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to Queens, New York at the age of six. He attended Baruch College and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law.

Trump’s broadside against Merchan was reminiscent of his attacks on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who presided over a civil fraud case against Trump University in 2016. Then-candidate Trump claimed the judge was biased against him because of the judge’s Mexican ancestry

That was when he told Jake Tapper in 2016."Let me just tell you, I’ve had horrible rulings, I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? "

In 2024, Trump wants us to "take a look at him. Take a look at where he comes from." And where Merchan comes from is Queens, New York, where he was raised after his parents brought him to the USA.  Also: "take a look at him." He was born in the wrong country and doesn't look like Trump believes Americans should look like. He must be one of those immigrants "poisoning the blood of our country."

Joe Biden has spoken of America as an "idea," as "the only nation in the world built on- noton ethnicity, religion, geography" but on enduring principles memorialized in the Declaration of Independence. Evidently, Donald Trump instead believes in America as a people, the type of individual spanning the globe from Norway to Finland. 

He has asserted that the country is "rigged, crooked, and evil." When Paul Simon wrote "And I dreamed I was flying. And high up above my eyes could clearly see the Statue of Liberty sailing away to sea," it was meant as a lament, almost a nightmare. For Donald J. Trump, it is a wet dream.


 

         

 


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Subservient



The husband-wife (or, rather, wife-husband) duo of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Martha-Ann Alito nee Bomgardner flew an upside down flag outside their house for a few days shortly after 1/6/2-21. They did so even while the US Supreme Court was considering an election case from Pennsylvania. Really. Cautiously

Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who has long called for a congressionally enforced code of conduct for the Court, released a statement Friday night calling on Alito to recuse himself from cases relating to Jan. 6 and the 2020 election, reiterating a previous admonishment that “the Court is in an ethical crisis of its own making.”

“Flying an upside-down American flag — a symbol of the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement — clearly creates the appearance of bias,” Durbin wrote. “Justice Alito should recuse himself immediately from cases related to the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, including the question of the former President’s immunity in U.S. v. Donald Trump, which the Supreme Court is currently considering.”



Of course, the chairperson called on Alito to recuse himself, a safe proposal because there is less than a 1% chance that he will. And Durbin won't make a fuss over it. We already knew the Associate Justice is corrupt because

Following reports that Justice Samuel Alito failed to disclose a luxury Alaska fishing trip gifted by right-wing billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, a new analysis from government watchdog Accountable.US shows Singer holds at least $90 million in financial companies overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as the agency faces an existential threat in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Accountable.US called the undisclosed gifts between Singer and Alito – including private jet travel valued at over $100,000 each way – grounds for Alito’s recusal in CFPB v. the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) especially as Singer’s investment management firm has called for the end of the CFPB’s independence, the central issue before the court. Should Alito choose to preside over this case despite his billionaire benefactor’s direct financial stake in the outcome, it would only fuel an already raging Supreme Court corruption crisis.

A corrupt Judge does not resign, recuse, or apologize. He whines and blames someone else. For Alito, it was "I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor's use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs."

Chris Lehmann in The Nation makes a couple of excellent points pertaining to the motivation of the couple, although they cannot be simultaneously valid. Arguing that the decision to fly the flag upside down may have been made by the Justice himself, he explains

It is, first of all, beyond parody for the justice who authored the egregious majority opinion hijacking the bodily autonomy of American women in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to profess that his life partner has uncontested domestic sovereignty in the adoption of exterior political messaging.

Though that is a legitimate perspective, Lehmann more boldly writes

the argument that it was an entirely unilateral work of Martha-Ann’s falls apart on its face; any adult sharing close living quarters with a militant flag-brandishing partner would then put some variation of the question Just what the hell are you up to, sweetheart? to said partner, and the ensuing exchange would result in either spirited dissent and flag removal or (the clear outcome here) harmonious consent and mutual self-satisfaction.

Former law clerk Martha-Ann Bomgardner was described by The New York Times in 2006 as

an extremely intelligent and well-read woman who orders restaurant meals in fluent French and recently took a philosophy class for intellectual stimulation.

"She's like a renaissance person," Susan Engelman Volkert, an employment lawyer who, along with her husband, Judge Donald J. Volkert Jr. of Superior Court in Essex County, N.J., has been friends with the Alitos for two decades. "She knows a little about music, a little about art. She's very active in sports and has been active in the community.

Sixteen years later, the U.S. Sun wrote "she revealed in an interview with The Washington Post that her husband likes Beethoven and Springsteen, but she forces him to listen to Scarlatti and Bach."

Without question, she forces him to listen to Scarlatti and Bach- and has the final word on whether the couple displays an American flag to demonstrate support for a political movement. The action violates Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for Justices but "happy wife, happy life" trumps "happy conduct, happy life." 

This is even more clear-cut than Lehmann suggests because it is not a case of a husband a wife working in the same field, company, job. Mrs. Alito evidently is, in the parlance of the last century, a homemaker. It would be the same if she were a  store clerk, store manager, warehouse worker, librarian, teacher, self-employed consultant, engineer, doctor, even a lawyer: everything, in fact, other than a President of the country. Her preferences must give way to the requirements of his job. There are only eight (8) others in his position.

Samuel Alito is a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. There are only nine (9) in the country. He is nearly at the top of both the legal and governmental professions, with only the President and Chief Justice more consequential.  When it comes to the appearance and reality of impropriety in his work, something must give. With the Dobbs abortion decision, Justice Alito told women where to go. As a real Republican, back home in Alexandria, he does what he's told. 

 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Racehorse Genes


Credit the discovery to Michael D'Antonio.  He conducted a series of interviews with Donald J. Trump in 2014, of whom Donald Trump Jr. told the biographer "Like him, I’m a big believer in racehorse theory. He’s an incredibly accomplished guy, my mother’s incredibly accomplished, she’s an Olympian, so I’d like to believe genetically I’m predisposed to better-than-average."

Donald Trump in 2016 reportedly stated

I always said that winning is somewhat, maybe, innate. Maybe it’s just something you have; you have the winning gene. Frankly it would be wonderful if you could develop it, but I’m not so sure you can. You know I’m proud to have that German blood, there’s no question about it. Great stuff.

In  October of 2020 the Los Angeles Times noted

President Trump has alarmed Jewish leaders and others with remarks that appeared to endorse “racehorse theory” — the idea that selective breeding can improve a country’s performance, which American eugenicists and German Nazis used in the last century to buttress their goals of racial purity.

“You have good genes, you know that, right?” Trump told a mostly white crowd of supporters in Bemidji, Minn., on Sept. 18. “You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it? Don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”

Rabbi Mark Diamond, a senior lecturer on Jewish studies at Loyola Marymount University, was stunned.

“To hear these remarks said at a rally in an election campaign for the presidency is beyond reprehensible,” said Diamond, the former executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

“This is at the heart of Nazi ideology… This has brought so much tragedy and destruction to the Jewish people and to others. It’s actually hard to believe in 2020 we have to revisit these very dangerous theories.”

Surprise! We have to revisit them now, four years later.

In January:


 Now, four months later, he's at it again:

 


This is not a case of simple bias. It is not "hate speech," however the aggrieved party in any particular instance at any particular time chooses to define it. 

Some would legitimately call it "white supremacy." However, it is even better understood as good ol' racism, a term grossly abused to include hostility, bigotry, discrimination, or whatever offends. As it is properly and defined narrowly, racism is

a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. 

Authentic racism is almost never expressed these days, and is not commonly believed because of the tremendous- and growing- accomplishments in the USA of minority groups. It defies the reality of observation to conclude that a race, or members of a race, are superior because of selective breeding. But Donald Trump's commitment to the inherent superiority of one race to another was exhibited when last December 19, he contended that illegal immigrants are "destroying the blood of our country, they're destroying the fabric of our country." 

If he had maintained merely that the damage is to the fabric of our country, we could debate it, especially because "fabric" does not refer to genes or innate characteristics." But "blood of our country" makes all so obvious.

Whether racism, white supremacy, or Nazi ideology, it's a philosophy which the media seems unable to confront and explain plainly. However, there is less than a half year to the presidential election and the media is obviously unwilling to acknowledge that one of the two major political parties is completely under the sway, and in the grip of, a creature more debased than could have been imagined.


Friday, May 17, 2024

On a Positive Note, It's What He Believes


During the War of 1812, Master Commandant Oliver Perry wrote to Major General William Henry Harrison "we have met the enemy and they are ours."

One hundred fifty-eight years later, cartoonist Walt Kelley adapted the line to Earth Day and wrote "we have met the enemy and it is us."

Fifty-four years later, we have found the perfect Republican and he kicks for a living. The New York Times notes that, in his graduation speech at Benedictine College, devout Catholic and Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison

Butker encouraged men to be “unapologetic in your masculinity,” referenced “the deadly sins” of homosexuality, and criticized Catholic priests for deriving “their happiness from the adulation they receive from their parishioners.” In attempting to drive home his point, Mr. Butker invoked lyrics from Ms. Swift’s song “Bejeweled” without mentioning her or Mr. Kelce by name.

While nether Catholic nor pro-life and one of  the few liberals who is not pro-Pope Francis, I largely agree with this guy who in his bio describes himself in that way. However, here we are:
 


But Butker is motivated by more than an apparent longing for a pre-Vatican II world.  According to the Times piece

Despite his stance on women in the workplace, his mother, Elizabeth Keller Butker, has a distinguished career. She is a medical physicist in the department of radiation oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Pretty impressive that is, and very likely a (justifiably) well-paid position held by a woman Butker has expressed great admiration for. Also

In the speech, Mr. Butker encouraged men to be “unapologetic in your masculinity,” referenced “the deadly sins” of homosexuality, and criticized Catholic priests for deriving “their happiness from the adulation they receive from their parishioners.” In attempting to drive home his point, Mr. Butker invoked lyrics from Ms. Swift’s song “Bejeweled” without mentioning her or Mr. Kelce by name.

“This undue familiarity will prove to be problematic every time,” Mr. Butker said, “because as my teammate’s girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’”

He may not know that "familiarity breeds contempt" dates at least to 1851 but unless unusually unaware, the kicker with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering knows that the phrase has been in fairly common usage for generations.

I have little doubt he would not have any problem, either, with the continued employment of Fox News' Laura Ingraham, The never-married Ingraham, mother of adopted children, wanted Trump critic LeBron James to "shut up and dribble" but praised Butker's remarks. 

Ingraham, a convert from Protestantism to Catholicism, is paid approximately $15 million annually to be a primetime Fox News host. In this case, politics does not make strange bedfellows; Ingraham is a woman of wealth who is beloved by millions of (misguided) followers.. Butker's mother seems to be a very well-accomplished professional; Taylor Swift, phenomenally popular and rich.

They're the good ones, in this worldview. Old-fashioned, traditional Catholic morality, stripped of concern for the poor and suffering, is the ideal. Comfortable that where there is a lot of money to be made, values can be compromised, Harrison Butker is today's nearly perfect Republican.


 




Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Deceptive Bunch



This is largely accurate.



According to The Marshall Project,  "President Biden's signature American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 gave local governments $350 billion to recover from COVID-19. They spent much of it on police, prisons, and the courts."

Revenues for local and state governments plummeted in 2020 and would surely do so in 2021. Congress passed the legislation designed to help local officials around the country finance essential needs without dramatically raising taxes. The funds could be used on virtually anything those officials wished and therefore went "to programs and institutions not with the greatest need during a public health crisis and economic upheaval but those with the most existing political and budgetary power: police, corrections and the courts."

It was essentially free money, which in years past would have sent into orgasm a Party which always had argued that the government "closest to the people" knew far better than the federal government how to spend taxpayer money. Depending on the locale, funds were spent on such things as cars (including armored vehicles), jail/prison expansion projects, surveillance cameras, body scanners, tasers, firearms and ammunition. In many cases, shiny new objects and programs were the beneficiaries, in others, salary increases and additional personnel. For the courts, there was "additional staffing in prosecutors, public defenders, and court operations."

Allocation of funds obviously varied greatly. Certainly, law enforcement agencies gained a great deal and probably in most cases, there was some increase in safety and security for the public. It constituted a needed injection of public, and indirectly private, spending into the economy.

So, of course, members of the party which claims to speak for local and state governments, as well as for law and order, voted unanimously against (one not voting) the American Rescue Plan Act. They were determined not to give President Biden a victory and if the economy were then to suffer, it would be collateral damage, thus undermining Biden's presidency. 

Undeterred by a strong economy and a declining crime (especially violent) rate nationally, Republicans are still flogging the "Democrat Party defund the police" trope. Very few Democrats ever endorsed defunding the police and several prominent Democrats, including Biden and James Clyburn, vigorously denied their party wanted anything to do with it. Nonetheless, "defund the police" became almost as bad a message as "black lives matter" became a great message (well, almost almost). 

And now, House Speaker Johnson is jointed by Representative Cory Mills, Representative Byron Donalds, Governor Doug Burgum, and Vivek the Fake Ramaswamy as they pose, in matching dark blue suits and red tie, outside of Manhattan Criminal Court to exalt Donald Trump by denouncing the courts and federal law enforcement. If you're going to follow your Lord and Savior, the uniform must conform while you give the shiv to the American people.




Monday, May 13, 2024

Lay Off the Truth, Lady



"This sort of haughty dismissal" is exactly right. (A different kind of haughty dismissal would be right on target. The "haughty dismissal" is unnecessarily provocative. Nevertheless, the respondent knows the score:

 

It is more than nuance which goes unrecognized by most of the protestors. However, it is largely "a cultural conflict based on religious tradition and dogma" and Mrs. Clinton's assessment, albeit accurate, should have gone unstated.

Of course, the anti-Israel hysteria has been fed by an ignorance of Middle East history, peppered with a failure to comprehend the nature of the struggle between East and West. Clinton's statement thus bears a resemblance to a more infamous one she made eight years ago. You'll remember when the Democratic presidential nominee in September of that year stated the reasonably obvious:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.

She couldn't have been more accurate unless she had added "insurrectionists and their supporters." Nevertheless, there is a time to hold your tongue as Clinton de facto acknowledged ("just to be grossly generalistic") even before she uttered those words.

Mrs. Clinton could have thrown caution to the wind and fully embraced political incorrectness. Ida Bae Wells argues "Did BLM protestors have to know the entire story of policing to protest what happened to George Floyd?"

They didn't, but they did need something which the campus protestors also needed. That essential element was good timing- favorable weather.

The massive, black lives matter protests were provoked by the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.  However, the ubiquitous and massive outpouring would not have occurred had the crime occurred four or five months earlier, early in winter or in the dead of winter. 

They transpired at a time in which people had begun to realize that Covid-19, which had kept the populace unusually sheltered in late winter and spring, was far less a threat outdoors than indoors. Moreover, good weather was- as it always is with protests- can be a powerful motivator. 

By contrast, in bad weather, less-motivated persons will conclude that there probably will be few attendees, the event will be insignificant, and they may even be subject to discomfort. The spark that lit the flame was the Chauvin/Floyd confrontation- but conditions were especially ripe for associating with like-minded individuals. Or as James Carville would put it, "it's the weather, stupid."

Of course, no Democratic, and perhaps no Republican, politician or official could point to that obvious factor without blowing up his or her career. That's "blowing up" as in destroying, not merely harming. It's the dirty little secret which cannot be expressed without accusations of racism, and there would be very few defenders of the offender.

And so Hillary Clinton cites the historical ignorance of many of the protestors of Israeli and American policy in Gaza. As with the infamous "deplorables" observation, she was simultaneously right and politically inept.



Saturday, May 11, 2024

Hamas Still Eager for More Death and Destruction in Gaza



Don't blame the Biden Administration.  Jasmine M. El-Gamal began in 2008, during the George W. Bush Administration, working in the Department of Defense addressing Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria issues. But don't blame President Bush either- El-Gamal was a civil service employee, proving that even merit-based employees can be very bad choices for the federal government.

Gamal claims 

The Israelis and Prime Minister Netanyahu are saying that part of the reason they're going in to Rafah- partly, is to release the hostages, to get them released and to put pressure on Hamas. But even as a tactic, no reason to believe that that will work, because up until now, the Israelis- Hamas- has not released any hostages uh, under duress. 

The only way they release hostages is through negotiations. Hamas is not an organization that will bow to that kind of pressure. So as a tactic, even, we've talked about the strategy and why it's faulty but also as a tactic, it's not- it's not the right way to go.

As an example of a Freudian slip, this one should become a classic. A Hamas- or rather, "Palestinian"- supporter erroneously referring to hostages of Israel, then correcting it to hostages of Hamas, reveals her delusional belief that prisoners of Israel are hostages. Obviously, they are prisoners, period.

According to a press release of several days ago, Hamas will accept nothing less than a permanent ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces, an exchange of the dozens of hostages (dead or alive) it holds for several hundred prisoners Israel has held, lifting of a blockade, and reconstruction of its territory. Israel must capitulate and submit to the enemy.

In order to end the war Israel is currently winning, Hamas demands Israel receive nothing of value it had before October 7 and to make huge concessions, They would include release of suspected Palestinian criminals, an end to the blockade in effect since 2007, and- of course- money, money, and more money.  With the end of the blockade, Hamas would resume turning humanitarian assistance into tunnels and weapons of war, as has been its practice.

Heads we win, tails you lose. With its acceptance of a deal proposed by Egypt, Israel has signaled its willingness to compromise; Hamas, its willingness to accept total surrender by Israel., which is not forthcoming.  

Israel may not secure release of the hostages with an incursion into Rafah. But Hamas has refused to give an accounting of which hostages are deceased and which are still alive. As a price for release of hostages, Israel is being pressured to revitalize and embolden Hamas, acquiescing in all the demands of a terrorist organization determined to destroy it. The State of Israel will not agree to its own dissolution, as Hamas remains thirsty for more blood shed by Palestinians whose death it craves.



Thursday, May 09, 2024

Wirehaired Pointer



In a story that has grown old (as I have), South Dakota governor Kristi

Noem has been on a media blitz for the past week promoting her new book “No Going Back,” though the governor has been bombarded with questions surrounding her decision to kill her 14-month-old dog, as detailed in the book. Noem has faced condemnation from both sides of the aisle after The Guardian reported that she writes in the book that she “hated” the “aggressive” dog, who she says ruined a pheasant hunt and attacked her neighbor’s chickens.

When backlash to the story first surfaced, Noem openly talked about and defended her decision to kill her dog, saying that “South Dakota law states that dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down” and that she “chose the safety” of her children. Now, it seems Noem has grown tired of defending her decision and claims that people are upset because “the fake news” twisted her story.

At the beginning of the controversy,  the shocked indignation of the people of the greatest superpower in world history was captured when Inside Edition noted "this story is leaving the entire nation pretty well aghast."

The horrified response to Cricket's demise

 was reflected in the Fox News- Fox News! interview in which Stuart Varney pressed Noem on the dog story, when she finally responded

“Enough, Stuart. This interview is ridiculous, which you are doing right now,” Noem said. “So you need to stop. It is OK. It is. Let’s talk about some real topics that Americans care about.”

Well, that was a buzzkill. For better or for worse- by which I mean for the worst- that is a topic which Americans care about. Inside Edition, perhaps the expert in all things trivial, stated that more than half of households own one or more dogs, and shooting them to death is not a pleasant thought.

Yet, Noem was on to something, even though her remark was made only for self-interest. Of more significance regarding the governor of South Dakota is the story behind the story when on Election Day of 2022 South Dakota voters

approved the expansion of Medicaid health insurance to tens of thousands of low-income residents through a constitutional amendment.

The majority vote to support Constitutional Amendment D removes South Dakota from a list of 12 states that have not expanded eligibility for the government health insurance program to people earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level — currently about $18,800 for an individual or $38,300 for a family of four.

The Republican-controlled Legislature had declined to expand Medicaid eligibility under the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act, and Gov. Kristi Noem has opposed the idea.

The argument from Noem and other opponents of expansion, according to Politico at the time, had been that "the proposal would be costly to the state in the future, would force the state to raise taxes and would discourage able-bodied adults from securing well-paying jobs with benefits." And so they would have refused $110 million from the federal government in order to avoid giving health care to South Dakotans, although

Under the American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden signed in 2021, Congress incentivized states to expand Medicaid by having the federal government cover an extra 5 percent of the costs of the program — on top of covering 90 percent of costs for the newly eligible population.

Forty-nine states, including South Dakota, are required to balance their operating budget. Free money is hard to turn down, which the legislature and Governor Noem were satisfied to do.

Were Kristi Noem a man, she'd be recognized as a creep- Medicaid opponent (until passed by voters), goat killer, former adulteress (Corey Lewandowski? really?), hypocrite, liar, Trump bootlicker. But she was, probably still is, a serious contender to be a vice-presidential nominee, and the controversy over shooting her a dog probably says more about us than it does for her.



 


This "R" Stands for More than "Reprehensible"

He's not insane but if Jim Steinman was right that "two out of three ain't bad," three out of four is quite good. Th...