It’s human nature, I suppose. Never let the truth interfere with a good story.
It happened half a century ago. Until recently, I missed some aspects of those days. Mostly I missed the clarity.
Clarity is all over us again now, and it comes to me that maybe clarity wasn’t all that great, even in those days. Immigration, religion, skin color are all reasons, once again, for some to hate those on the other side. The other side of the skin, the other side of the border, the other side of God Almighty.
The incident from 50 years ago was a minor one. A bit of vandalism by an anti-war group had led to arrests. A neighbor asked me for my opinion. He was a beefy hardworking plumber. I was with my folks, visiting his home. I mumbled something about vandalism being wrong. He pressed me. Those unpatriotic thugs had gone too far, he said. It wasn’t enough that they hated America. Now they were breaking laws, destroying property. I could see that, right?
“I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president,” Olympic skier Lindey Vonn said, “I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony.”
Vonn added: “I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
For telling the truth, the MAGAts were quickly all over her, like lies, sleaze, and slime on Trump.
For the No. 3 lawyer at the Department of Justice to quit after just nine months on the job is, to say the least, unusual. Under the Trump administration, where the downright bizarre is so commonplace that the merely unusual barely registers, this is nevertheless an aberration worth marking, because it says a lot about the state of a Justice Department locked in a surreal conflict with its own president and his party, none of it good.
When United States Associate Attorney General Rachel L. Brand last week announced she’d be stepping down to take a job as a vice president at Wal-Mart, it made headlines primarily because it also meant passing on her role as heir apparent to embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Tasked with supervising Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal, Rosenstein has become an improbable target of invective from the very president who appointed him, from Republican legislators, and even from Political Action Committees. It seems clear that Trump is laying groundwork for his eventual removal, in hopes that Rosenstein’s successor—meaning, until her departure, Brand—might be more willing to carry out an order to fire Mueller. But her departure should be seen as a warning sign with implications not only for the Mueller inquiry, but the future of the Trump Justice Department as a whole. To see why, it’s helpful to appreciate two things about Rachel Brand.
It appears that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly could be in his final days on the job as his mishandling of the Rob Porter situation blooms into a full-out scandal. He’s getting hit from all sides, much of it from those opposed to President Donald Trump, but plenty from those inside the White House, at least according to all the anonymous quotes out there.
Sure, Kelly has alienated a lot of people with his comments about supposedly lazy Dreamers, his attacks on a military widow and his defense of Robert E. Lee. But at the end of the day he is responsible for a process job — hiring, firing, coordinating, managing up and managing down. So it makes sense to measure him on how he’s handling those responsibilities.
This week’s note in Trumpian ‘Alternative Facts’ comes from the online magazine Science, explaining the secret ways experts deal with widely accepted “socially sanctioned beliefs.” Warning: you have to deal with one unverified assertion from bothsiderism (“at each end of the spectrum”). Apparently Science is not entirely immune to unverified, widely accepted, socially sanctioned beliefs.
LaFerrara and his kind are quick to appeal to the founders’ intentions and offer up problems with “rule by majority” (which is not really at stake here), but utterly unwilling to confront (1) the problems with systems like the electoral college, (2) whether or not the electoral college truly does what they claim it is intended to do, and (3) whether or not the electoral college functions as intended by the founders.
Here are some simple truths that utterly refute arguments like these:
Even if the presidency were decided by a simple majority of voters, we would not end up with “mob rule.” Our system of government features a legislature that already gives small states disproportionate power in the Senate and favors the party that controls greater land area in the House. Nevertheless, conservatives insist on having not just a couple of advantages, but *every* advantage. Then they have the nerve to pretend that they would feel the same way if Democrats had these advantages, that they would not appeal to so-called American values of equality and fairness in opposition to a system that keeps them down. But we must remember that we are talking about people who don’t care all that much that Democratic congressional candidates in Pennsylvania can receive 51% of the vote but only 28% of the power.
“Passions” are not limited to the majority. A minority can be just as or more passionate and can take action against the majority. Therefore, it makes little sense to suggest that a system that disregards the majority’s will somehow protects against “passions.” Similarly, just because a minority’s interests or the interests of large areas of land are respected does not mean that a *plurality* of interests is respected. This is really simple stuff.
Our electoral college does *not* function as intended. It is my understanding that the original intention was for people to vote for their electors, who, being more informed and discerning than the general populace, would then cast votes for the president. Hamilton and Madison even protested when they saw the states do otherwise. Indeed, if the electoral college is all about “checking passions,” such a system makes more sense than the one we have today. Furthermore, it was not intended that states adopt the winner-take-all method of awarding electors, which itself disregards the various interests within states in favor of majorities. This is just another case of conservatives (1) saying one thing and doing another and (2) appealing to the founders when it suits them and disregarding them when it doesn’t.
The true test of the public’s opinion of the electoral college would come from a Democrat winning the electoral vote and losing the popular vote, but that’s unlikely to happen. Until then, we are stuck with the system because one of our two major parties is unable to be honest with itself or others about its own desires and arguments and cares about one thing above all: power.
Ryan is right. Every 4 years, our country recklessly gambles with our democratic republic.
Note: The following statements do not apply to Blacks, immigrants, liberals, Democrats, Muslims, Mexicans and even Americans of Mexican ancestry.
“We wish him well, he worked very hard. We found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that.”
“There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a televised event that many deemed unnecessarily cruel, millions of Americans were briefly reminded on Monday that they once had a President.
Unsuspecting Americans who turned on cable news Monday morning were suddenly assaulted with the memory of a time when the country’s domestic affairs, international diplomacy, and nuclear codes were entrusted to an adult.
CNN, one of the networks that televised the event, immediately said that it regretted doing so, and acknowledged that reminding Americans that they recently had a President had caused widespread bereavement and distress. “CNN deeply apologizes for the error,” a network statement read. “It will never happen again.”