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.”
It’s official. Paul Nehlen, the racist candidate in the first congressional district running in the GOP primary against House Speaker Paul Ryan, has had his Twitter account suspended. As a private organization, Twitter is certainly within its rights to suspend Nehlen’s account. However, they are making a mistake.
Nehlen is an anti-Semite, a racial provocateur, and has even personally profited from his own campaign for public office. If there was any chance of him winning an election, I would gladly drop my policy against campaign donations and donate all I could to stop him. He is an evil, vile man.
He is also a candidate for public office.
The irony of Nehlen getting suspended by Twitter is that it was Nehlen’s posts on social media that revealed the real Paul Nehlen.
I recently watched a miniseries on David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and the horrific loss of innocent human life at Waco. The miniseries was a poignant reminder of the fact that bad things can happen when people believe the Christian Bible is the Word of God and is meant to be read literally and taken at face value.
Koresh was considered a cultist, but were his beliefs about the Bible that much different from countless Evangelical churches who say the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God; that every word of the Bible is to be obeyed and practiced; that God said what he means and means what he said (and in some sects continues to say in prophecies and dreams)? Think about the American religious landscape for a moment. Look at how Bible literalism affects (infects) everything from public discourse to governmental policy. Everywhere we look — IF we dare to do so — we see the tragic consequences of Bible literalism. Never mind the fact that the Bible is an ancient religious text of sketchy provenance and is chock full nonsense. That the Bible plays such a vital part in the ebb and flow of American life should frighten us. Why? Because if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that ruthless, conniving men can use the Bible and naivety of Christians to advance their agendas, leading to everything from slavery and war to colonialism and genocide. It is Bible literalism that lies behind efforts to criminalize homosexuality, ban birth control, make abortion illegal, and constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. It is Bible literalism that fuels the patriarchal movement, causing untold spousal and child abuse. It is Bible literalism that leads people to demand creationism be taught in public schools.
Just look at how often Bible literalism affects government at every level.
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?