Horror-Movie Legislation

found online by Raymond

From Infidel753:

ACA repeal has been declared dead and then revived so many times, it’s starting to resemble the stereotypical slasher-movie fiend who keeps coming back every time you think the good guys have finally killed him off. In fact, it’s worse than that. Congressional Republicans look like Herbert West, endlessly dragging some pathetic mangled corpse back from oblivion to a stumbling, agonized, pointless parody of life, long after everyone else can see that he’s gone crazy and should just leave the poor thing to rot in peace.

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John McCain, Brain Cancer, and Human Decency

As the presidency of Richard Nixon collapsed, one national parlor game centered on resignation and pardons.

Would President Nixon issue a pardon covering himself before resigning?
“Pardon me, I resign.”

Or would he resign and plead with the new President, Gerald Ford, to issue a pardon?
“I have resigned. I beg your pardon?”

Resignation seemed probable. The tapes were bad, then became worse. A smoking gun recording had the President of the United States conspiring with top aide H.R. Haldeman to stop the investigation. We hear Haldeman outlining the plan.

That the way to handle this now is for us to have Walters call Pat Gray and just say, “Stay the hell out of this…this is ah, business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” That’s not an unusual development, and, uh, that would take care of it.

H.R. Haldeman, Taped on June 23, 1972

It was clear obstruction of justice. President Nixon liked the idea of inventing a CIA story and using it to get the FBI to stop investigating. So he ordered Haldeman to carry out the plan.

I’m not going to get that closely involved… You call him. You got that?

It was as bad as it would get. In fact, it couldn’t have gotten worse.

Well, actually it could have. There were more tapes the public would never hear until decades later. There was the President casually voicing ethnic biases that went way beyond the common prejudices of the day.

Italians were different from us, our President said. They looked different, they talked different. They even smelled different. Biggest problem was, you couldn’t find an Italian who was honest.

Black people in America, as Richard Nixon saw it, were barely a step or two away from climbing down from the trees.

Jews were smart, according to the President. But they couldn’t be counted on for any loyalty. They would turn on you in an instant. And there were too many Jews in government.

President Nixon ordered his aides to survey all federal agencies. They were to make lists of all Jews working in government. A non-Jewish monitor would be assigned to keep track of all of them. As far as we know, the order was never carried out.

The Nixon bigotry did have the virtue of not involving lawbreaking. At least up to the part about tracking Jews. But there was lawbreaking. The smoking gun for Watergate involved a cover-up, not the original crime. But tapes that came out later had the President order other break-ins. In one tape he could be heard pounding the table, furious because his order to burglarize the Brookings Institution had not been carried out. “I want it done!” he yelled. “I want it done now.”

The generally accepted explanation of why President Nixon resigned when he did was that he did not want the humiliation of impeachment by the House, trial in the Senate, and eventual removal from office.

I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

President Nixon, August 8, 1974

One bit of popular speculation had the President jump ship because impeachment would have cost him his Presidential pension. He wanted the money.

Maybe so.

I sometimes wonder if the President hesitated at the public release of those other tapes, the ones smearing Italians and Jews and African Americans. His table pounding fury and his direct order of other crimes might have produced a popular revulsion that would end his hope for a pardon. He might have worried about life in prison.

President Ford is most remembered by those of my generation for two public statements. One was his famous assurance the night he was sworn in.

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.

President Gerald Ford, August 9, 1974

The other is what tormented him for the rest of his brief presidency, and prevented his election for another term.

…a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed…

President Gerald Ford, September 8, 1974

But some of us may remember the lengths he went to avoid any hint that he wanted to become President.

Q. If the Judiciary Committee votes out impeachment and this process is going, headed towards the Senate, do you feel that the president should step down and name you acting president during this period?

A. I don’t think so. I don’t believe that a president should remove himself from office until he’s convicted, which would be the trial in the Senate.

President Ford, Meet the Press, February 3, 1974

Years later, after he had retired from politics, President Ford was explicit. He insisted he had refused even to give advice to President Nixon about resignation. When an aide to the President had asked him for input, he remembered his response.

I’ll have no part of any recommendation. I don’t want any of our conversation to give any advice or counsel to President Nixon. I’m going to stay out of it, absolutely.

President Ford, with Merv Griffin, 1979

President Ford’s studious effort to avoid the slightest hint that he wanted to become President because of what he later called a national nightmare had to have come from a simple humanity common to most of us.

I was reminded of that transparent sense of decency soon after the terrible announcement came that John McCain had been stricken with an almost identical brain cancer that took the life of Edward Kennedy.

His opponent in the 2016 Republican primary lost and lost badly. But that did not stop Kelli Ward from offering some helpful advise to Senator McCain.

I hope Senator McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible.

Kelli Ward, July 20, 2017

That was one day after the cancer announcement. One day.

So, because of his medical diagnosis, Kelli Ward insists that John McCain should resign from the United States Senate. And she has a a helpful suggestion about the ideal person to take over from him right away.

I have a proven track record from years in the state Senate of being extremely effective and of listening to the voice of the people that I represent.

Yup. John McCain ought to resign. And Kelli Ward should take his place right now.

Human decency is not unique to Gerald Ford.

I remember the way Senator McCain, campaigning against Barack Obama in 2008, gently but firmly turned away from bigotry and smear. When anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bigots insisted that Barack Obama was both Arab and Muslim, candidate McCain would have none of it.

No ma’am no ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happened to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not!

John McCain, October 10, 2008

I have had occasion to wince at the occasional short tempered outbursts. Those my age often try to avoid the image of angry old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. I try not to do that very often. Senator McCain’s public stands often strike me as unreasonable. He differs from folks like me on policy. I would not vote for him if presented with a reasonable opponent.

But I also feel that John McCain has earned the right to incidental invective common to those my age and older. A half century ago, he became a prisoner of war in Vietnam after being shot down as a pilot. He nearly died from his injuries. He was imprisoned in unbelievably harsh conditions for more than five years. He did not have to stay in captivity nearly that long. A year after he was shot down, his captors offered to release him as a propaganda ploy. He refused release until every prisoner who had been captured ahead of him had been let go. It took four additional years, but that finally happened.

Old-man outbursts and public stands do not tarnish a simple fact.

John McCain is a hero.

Here is another simple fact:

…to advise him to step away as quickly as possible…

…I have a proven track record…

Kelli Ward should be profoundly ashamed.

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found online by Raymond

From Max’s Dad:

British soldiers are bombarded with leaflets urging surrender courtesy of the advancing enemy in a small town in France in 1940. The gunfire begins and they run like hell. All are cut down except one who with the help of French defenders backed up to what turns to be the English Channel. This is the beginning of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and it only gets increasingly tense from there.

Now most people know the ending of this historic event of World War 2 but nonetheless this movie is breathtakingly tense. Combined with Hans Zimmer’s musical score and the triangle of out of sequence stories this film will have you saying I have seen the best movie of 2017 and I’m not sure anything will overtake it.

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Why Donald Trump Will Not Pardon Himself and If He Tries He Will Fail

found online by Raymond

From Serolf Divad at Stinque:

As usual Donald Trump is trying to be too cute by half here, at once asserting that he is innocent of any real crime (it’s all just “fake news”) but at the same time insisting that “everyone” agrees that his pardon authority is unlimited and thus, one must surmise, applicable to himself.

Despite what Trump would like to believe there are real questions as to whether the president in fact has the power to pardon himself: see here and here. Now I’m no constitutional scholar, and not even a lawyer, but if I might offer an opinion I would suggest that the President’s inability to pardon himself follows from Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution where the power of the pardon is explicitly granted to the President and its limitations laid out:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

What is of interest here is the bit I have reproduced in bold.

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Volunteers of Amerika

found online by Raymond

From Capt. Fogg at Human Voices:

Alex Jones and Michael Savage – two Gentlemen of Bologna – or do we pronounce it Baloney? They’re both talking about civil war and not the one you’re thinking of. And though both have an audience, neither can be compared to Nathan Hale or Patrick Henry or for that matter, Robert E Lee.

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Christianity as Death Cult

found online by Raymond

From PZ Myers:

This is why Christianity is a death cult (although, in the case of the prosperity gospel, some splinters of it are transforming themselves into a money cult, which isn’t any better).

Suffering is not a blessing. We should not look on human beings in pain and console ourselves with the thought that the more despair they experience, the more likely they are to find Jesus. We should look on that pain and do what we can to end it.

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And Now It Can Be told…

found online by Raymond

From tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors:

We always thought that our pal, Dumb Spice (the Angry Inch), never got any respect; from the Russian Usurper’s ersatz Mean Girl treatment, to cruelly not letting Spicy meet the pope, to not even asking him about appointing a new White House Communications Director. Spicy was always the object of contempt.

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