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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Spiritual home: the rocky Maine coast
Member since: Sun Mar 27, 2016, 08:06 PM
Number of posts: 1,629

About Me

Greetings... what can I say? I'm an old time hippie and anti-war activist from the 60's. I was radicalized then and have always remained political. One's politics can have different aspects. Economically I'm an FDR liberal. Socially I believe in the Ninth Amendment that government has no legitimate power to limit some rights such as responsible drug use, the right to choose, or one's sexual behavior. Politically I'm to the left of the Democratic Party. Why? Over the years I realized the focus of activists should not be stamping out brush fires and putting band-aids on problems. The effort must always be to keep in mind the root of most of our problems such as wealth inequality, growing corporate power, voter apathy, climate change, etc... is an electoral system that is incapable of measuring the popular will and a political system that is incapable of implementing it. Sadly, the Democratic Party seems to need a push to find a greater appreciation for... and to work towards, implementing common sense democratic reforms to both those electoral and political systems.

Journal Archives

Some Thoughts On The Antidemocratic Senate From Mother Jones...

This is an old 1998 article... but when I see ANOTHER Supreme Court nominee ratified by Senators who no doubt will represent a minority of the American people... I think back to Clarence Thomas... who then became a key vote in Bush v Gore.

Even now, only 10 percent of the U.S. population elects 40 percent of the Senate. By filibustering, senators representing little more than one-tenth of the nation can block reforms supported by the House, the president—and their fellow senators, who represent the other 90 percent of the population. This is not democracy. It is minority rule. For example:

The Republican Party held the Senate from 1980-86 only because of Senate malapportionment. During that period, Republican senators as a group received fewer votes nationwide than Democratic senatorial candidates. If the Senate had been elected on the basis of population, President Ronald Reagan would have faced a Democratic Senate throughout his eight years in office.

In 1991, the Senate voted 52-48 to appoint Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. The senators opposing Thomas (including those from California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas) represented a majority of the American people—but found themselves in the minority in the Senate.

In order to pass his budget package in 1993, President Clinton had to cave in to demands by senators from Montana, Arkansas, and Louisiana to lower the gasoline tax.

Likewise, Clinton's 1993 domestic stimulus program, which was targeted at metropolitan areas in megastates like California, was killed by conservative Republican and Democratic senators from underpopulated states such as Oklahoma.

While the Senate exaggerates the power of anti-urban, anti-government conservatives in domestic policy, when it comes to foreign affairs, the Senate has always been the command post of isolationism. As late as 1940, a bipartisan team of isolationists in the Senate blocked the efforts of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the House to revise the country's misguided neutrality laws and rescue Britain from defeat at the hands of the Nazis. Thanks to the unrepresentative Senate, Hitler came close to winning World War II.

The only Americans whose views are consistently magnified by Senate malapportionment are white, rural, right-wing isolationists. If you are nonwhite or of mixed race, if you live in a major metropolitan area, if you are liberal or centrist, if you support an internationalist foreign policy, or even if you are a conservative who lives in a populous state, you should look on the Senate with loathing and apprehension.

Because of its role in screening executive and judicial appointees, the Senate also has a disproportionate influence on all three branches. To make matters worse, the senators' staggered six-year terms—intended to insulate the enlightened statesmen of the upper house—have merely ensured that the Senate would be out of touch with the times, as well as out of touch with the American majority.


Why Scalia? Roberts? Gorsuch? The 1971 Smoking Gun

In 1971 Lewis Powell suggested business launch a coordinated counter attack against liberalism... and part of that strategy was to take over the federal judiciary. He wrote a confidential memo to the Chamber Of Commerce which included

Neglected Opportunity in the Courts

American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.


So it comes as no surprise that the Federalist Society was created in 1982 and Reagan nominated Bork for Supreme Court in 87
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Society Bork and later Scalia has some radical new judicial doctrines which allowed them to use the courts as the judicial arm of the GOP. For example if they could negate the Ninth Amendment of all meaning it automatically gave the government power to regulate rights social conservatives didn't want the People to have.

Roberts represents a second major strategic thrust by the far right... to expand the power of corporations through the use of the court.

So the far right's bottom line was to restrict the rights of LIVING PERSONS while expanding the rights of corporations which are nothing but the CREATIONS of government.

Wow! The pathology involved here is beyond the pale.

What MIGHT Have Dems Done To Stop GOP On The Fillibuster? (title change)

Seeing the Dems have no leverage... all I could imagine that might stop McConnell was to make a bigger threat... that once the Dems again controlled the Senate, they'd try to rewrite the rules to weight each senate vote by half a Senator's state population. Since Dems now represent about 33 million more Americans than does the GOP... this would insure nothing passed the Senate without at least the approval of Senators who represented the majority of the US population. Let's remember that Clarence Thomas was also approved in this fashion. He then went on to be a key vote in Bush v Gore

I realize some here did not like my idea, though it was really meant to serve two purposes... to threaten but also to open up a debate about the antidemocratic nature of state suffrage... something that permeates our federal system... as we saw with the EC overturning the popular vote last election. Some here value conformity to an antidemocratic system... even when there is a tyranny of the minority... more than the moral legitimacy of government itself.

I am not so burdened.

So what other ideas are out there that can stop the gutter fighters in the GOP?

Is It Immoral To Be Rich OR Is It Immoral For Govt To Allow Obscene Wealth Created By Govt Freebies

Would there even be any obscenely uber wealthy without government freebies that permit some to game the system? These freebies include intellectual property monopolies such as patents, copyrights and trademarks and free limited liability protections for private wealth in the case of corporate bankruptcies.

There is a constitutional basis for protecting intellectual property and it's one of the few places in the Constitution that states a specific purpose... the other is the Second Amendment. Art 1 states

"The Congress shall have Power... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

This would seem to limit the money that can be made from an invention or copyrighted creation to the point that it promotes progress and the useful arts. It would also seem to deny giving patents to anything that was designed solely to create vendor lock.

It's easy to see how this system can be gamed... or how business whores in Congress can allow extensions that permit a patent or copyright to be extended past the specific purpose stated in Art 1.

Another government freebie is how capital gains (unearned income) is taxed at a lower rate than earned income. For the top bracket it's 20% (minus the ACA surcharge) where earned income is taxed at 39.6%. And capital gains is free of payroll taxes. I can see where we'd give tax breaks for investments in risky endeavors such as medical and energy research... but to give this tax break to speculation on Wall St?

What Was Jefferson REALLY Trying To Say?

There's an abbreviated (edited) version of this quote at the Jefferson Memorial in DC... here's the full quote:

"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Jefferson to H. Tompkinson (AKA Samuel Kercheval), July 12, 1816


My Email To Schumer On A DEMOCRATIC Nuclear Option

McConnell will play dirty on Gorsuch and there's no way around this except if the Dems make a threat that scares the pants off the GOP... a rules change the next time Dems have the majority that weights each Senatorial votes as HALF of a states population. Why? Because Dems seem to represent about 33 million more American's than do the GOP so even if the GOP controls the Senate as representatives of states with a MINORITY of the nation's population... they could no longer have the power to impose or block laws wanted by the majority.

This rule change would seem to be permitted under Art 1 and technically doesn't violate Art 5 which calls merely for equal suffrage... and is silent on whether all votes must weigh the same. After all, the voters have "suffrage" but as the EC victory for Trump proves, those votes vastly differ in weight.

This being said I know this would further affect the functioning of the Senate, but then maybe as perhaps the most antidemocratic legislative body on the planet, one where a mere 18% of the US population gets 52% of the seats, the Senate NEEDS some democratic reforms. Are the Dems up to it? What's more important, to see signature Dem programs face an existential threat? Or the rules of an antidemocratic chamber? McConnell has already said for the GOP politics are more important.

Maybe It's Time Senate Dems Threaten a DEMOCRATIC Nuclear Option!

In terms of how any one person in the US is represented, the Senate is an antidemocratic abomination... where states with a mere 18% of the US population get 52% of the seats. This means those 585k people who choose to live in WY have the same power to make laws as the 38 MILLION people who live in California. Despite what we learned in 4th grade, this does NOT balance out in the House simply because if we look at how any one PERSON is represented no one in CA votes for ALL their House Representatives... a voter in both CA and WY can vote for just one. So anyone moving from CA to WY would gain nearly 70x more influence in the Senate... and gets a close to 4x bigger presidential vote.

This state suffrage creates a tyranny of the minority and makes a mockery of the very concept of self-government. It's the root of morally illegitimate government as we've seen with both the Bush2 and Trump Juntas... but also the Senate.

The so-called Nuclear Option would solidify this tyranny of the minority of the population whenever the GOP had a majority in the Senate. I think it's time Schumer and the Dems talk about the REAL Nuclear option... but one that makes sense democratically... that each Senator still get but one vote per the Constitution... but a change in the Senate rules would WEIGHT those votes by the state's population... splitting it should a state have Senators from different parties. How would this make the Senate more democratic? Because Dems, even though they are in the minority represent about 33 MILLION more people that do the GOP.

The key parts of the Constitution dealing with the Senate are from Art 1 "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote." This was modified by the 17th Amendment allowing the People for vote for their Senators. Then there's a poison pill in Art 5: "and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate." Suffrage at the time as it does now merely means the right to vote. Arguably it says nothing about the WEIGHTt of a vote. Also Art 1 says "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings..."

I think it's time the Senate Dems threaten this DEMOCRATIC Nuclear Option next time they are in power.

How About Drug Testing For Tax Breaks?

I know drug testing for anyone getting Food Stamps or Medicaid is the perfect wedge issue for right wingers. They can claim these benefits are funded by taxpayer money... and therefore the taxpayers should not support people with addiction problems.

But if that's the rationale... then the same can be said about tax breaks. The loss of that revenue has to be made up by other taxpayers... or more likely the money is just being stolen from our kids and grandkids when we borrow money to provide services to ourselves but refuse to pay the entire bill. How much are we borrowing? I believe the FY16 deficit was a whopping 587 billion.

Here's The Shameless Defense Of Slavery Under The Confederate Constitution

Anyone ever read the Confederate Constitution? Probably not. But it is shameless in its defense of slavery... and those who fly the stars and bars probably don't know it. This is a comparison of the US vs the Confederate Constitution...

http://jjmccullough.com/CSA.htm Some highlights... and from various articles...

No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates [sic]; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.


I'm going to try this topic again...

I LOVE science but climate deniers are an irresponsible if not dangerous lot.

Climate change 10,000 years ago would not matter. Humans could just get up and move. In fact many were forced to move as climate change created the deserts of north Africa and the Middle East or as the Ice Age moved south.

But we now have hundreds of trillions invested in infrastructure and agricultural zones based on the CURRENT climate and sea level of the past 2-3 thousand years. Nature has also found a balance where natural pests tend to be controlled by natural predators.

Climate deniers want to belief if climate change is natural, then we're somehow magically out of the woods and don't have to do anything. But even if humans have NO effect on the climate and ALL global warming were due to fluctuations in solar output or some other natural phenomenon, we'd STILL have to spend tends of trillions more to defend those coastal cities, deal with disruptions in our agricultural infrastructure, and deal with disruptions cause by new pests and diseases JUST TO MAINTAIN OUR CURRENT EXISTENCE. All this money COULD be used for the betterment of humanity... but instead will be pissed away just to hold our own.

It’s time to stop seeing climate change as a political pissing contest and see that bigger picture: we mess with the global climate at our own peril. If there is just a 1% chance that climate may reach a sudden tipping point where warming rapidly speeds up... a 1% chance of mass famine from drought or destruction of agricultural zones, a 1% chance of the dislocation of hundreds of millions of people or a 1% chance of a shut down of the thermohaline sea currents that warm Europe... THEN THAT CHANCE IS TOO GREAT to risk listening to self-serving corporate propagandists, their wh0res in Congress, or dimwitted deniers who post there's nothing to worry about.
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