Primary Chaos

Kentucky. Mitch McConnell’s state. A test for creating election chaos.

Any excuse will do. COVID works exceptionally well.

Having reduced the number of polling places from 3,700 to only 170 and using COVID as an excuse, can Mitch McConnell win in a ginned-up Republican primary? That is the question.

What if the November election is chaos and the President claims the election results can’t be valid , will the Electoral College still meet? Could the President sue the Federal Election Commission and have a do-over election?

Probably not. The Constitution was written to have the House vote for the President and the Senate vote for the Vice President when the Electoral College vote fails to attain 270 votes for a President.

In all cases though, this President puts his thumb on the scale and distorts the truth of the weigh.

Who can the President fire and substitute a lackey to do his bidding?

Good question.

And now that the Attorney General is a new hired gun, will he obey the law or twist it to the President’s ends?

Another good question.

Biden’s Running Mate

Should Joe Biden choose Michelle or Barack Obama as his running mate?

Either one would be historical. A black woman as VP who ascends to the presidency would be monumental.

And wouldn’t it frost every Republican’s behind to have Barack take over again when it’s determined that Joe doesn’t have the go to finish? And if the VP can’t serve then it all goes to Nancy Pelosi. WOW! How exciting would politics be at that time.

OMG. What a wedgie that would make!

Go read the 25th Amendment Section 3 and Section 4.


Autocracy in the New Millenium?

It appears to be true.

Across the globe, elected leaders are seeking to kill democracy and assert themselves as rulers for life in their countries.

In March 2018, Donald Trump, addressing a crowd of donors at his Florida estate, told what sounded like a joke. He was talking about the recent amendment of China’s constitution to remove presidential term limits, allowing Xi Jinping to serve in that office indefinitely. About Xi, Trump said: “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give it a shot someday.” The crowd cheered and applauded in response. In fact, Trump has told one version or another of this joke many times since becoming president.

And though Trump’s remarks are generally perceived as facetious, many of his counterparts on the world stage are quite serious. In January, Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian nation in an annual State of the Union–esque speech. Alongside pledges to improve living standards by, among other things, offering free hot meals to schoolchildren, he proposed major constitutional reforms that could see the presidential office weakened and the prime ministry and State Council strengthened—measures very likely aimed at ensuring that Putin can remain in power after 2024, when constitutional term limits will force him out of the presidency.

I remember when President Bush II  was reported to have said (paraphrasing?) “The Constitution is just another God-Dxxx piece of paper”. (You can read that here if you like.)

Do you remember reading about Kings who sought legitimacy for their rule by having the Pope recognize their earthly authority?

And what about The Divine Right of Kings. ?

It seems that every autocrat seeks legitimacy when they assert they are the rulers over others.

And as near as I can tell, there is a steady progression towards The Unitary Executive Theory in the US in which no other branch of government can challenge a sitting President even when the President overrides Congressional intent.

The Autocrat of the United States may be just around the corner. It might be President Donald Trump…

…or maybe Jared Kushner…

Obama gives out blanket indulgences, crosses the Rubicon, and should be impeached

A mixed metaphor perhaps but apt nonetheless.

“An indulgence thus does not forgive the guilt of sin, nor does it release from the eternal punishment which Church doctrine associates with unforgiven mortal sins. The Catholic Church teaches instead that indulgences only relieve the temporal punishment resulting from the effect of sin (the effect of rejecting God the source of good), and that a person is still required to have his grave sins absolved, ordinarily through the sacrament of Confession, to receive salvation. Similarly, an indulgence is not a permit to commit sin, a pardon of future sin, nor a guarantee of salvation for oneself or for another.[10][11] Ordinarily, forgiveness of mortal sins is obtained through Confession (i.e., penance or reconciliation).”

And this is what the Executive Actions about immigration did. They prevent the deportation of certain individuals but do not change their status as illegal immigrants. The result is a Get Out of Deportation Card for about 3.5 million people who, in President Obama’s personal opinion, ought not face deportation even though they are here illegally.

Under a very fancy sounding “executive action”, President Obama has said that he is going to ignore the law because he wants to and he has the authority to do so. If Congress allows this to go on unchallenged, it will set another precedent that the President may choose which laws he will recognize as binding and which ones he won’t. This is against every principle of democracy and pushes us further towards a Roman-style government headed by a Caesar who is the sole law giver.

The President and the news media are confusing executive order and executive action:

Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do. But most executive actions carry no legal weight. Those that do actually set policy can be invalidated by the courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.

The terms executive action and executive order are not interchangeable. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register, though they also can be reversed by the courts and Congress.

President Obama (and others) have defined his Immigration Law actions as Executive Actions but talk about them like they are Executive Orders. So President Obama is trying to satisfy two sets of critics: the ones who say you do not have the power to set policy and the ones who say that the President has the power to act because Congress chooses to do nothing. President Obama is setting a policy that follows the Unitary Executive Theory of government, namely, that once elected, the President holds all power.

This is a good fight for Congress to pick. Limiting the interpretation of a President’s constitutional powers is well worth the drama over the next two years. Presidential powers have been expanding rapidly over the past 20 years. The power of the Executive Branch is so vast that Watergate would be nothing more than a National Security inquiry under existing law.

Pompous and self-serving, this President assumes and presumes that because he was elected President and the President is the most powerful person in the world, that he, President Obama, can be the sole lawgiver in America. It is time to teach all future Presidents a lesson in the power of Congress and the power of the People.

There is enough evidence to show that President Obama is an enemy of the Constitution of the United States of America, the Supreme Law of the land. He should be impeached and I now support those who call for it.

Reasonable Citizen

A patriotic creed for the new millenium

I have the freedom of speech and the responsibility to listen,

I have the right to bear arms and the responsibility to train on their use,

I have the freedom to worship and the responsibility to respect other religions,

I have the right to freely assemble and the responsibility to do so peacefully,

I have the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures and the duty to resist same.

I have freedom from warrants issued without probable cause and the duty to resist same.

I have the right to be secure in my personal effects and the right to protect them from others.

State of Wisconsin seeks more election control

The movement by professional politicians to control local elections continues its trajectory to perhaps destroy Democracy as we know it.

Both professional political parties have staked out their long term strategies to minimize surprises in elections. For Republicans, this means minimizing the get-out-the-vote efforts that favor Democrats and for Democrats it means resisting any and all efforts to challenge or restrict their voting block.

Just as gerrymandering controls ‘areas’ of voters, this new control over absentee voting limits the hours available to types of voters to cast ballots. What types? The ones that can be motivated just a few weeks before elections to shift the gerrymandered vote to the other side. It also impacts the nursing home voter, the hospitalized voter, those without transportation, and those with unusual work schedules.

Here is one description of how this affects towns in Wisconsin. In case you don’t know, many towns have part-time Town Clerks.It is their responsibility to conduct the voting process. While the law applies to Towns, Villages, and Cities, it is towns with part-time Town Clerks that have this special problem.

Not the best news to report. Apparently, there has been a change in the law and we will no longer be allowed to just list “by appointment” for our part time clerks in the Type E Absentee notice. I’m waiting on specific guidelines from GAB as to if there is a minimum number of hours that have to be listed and any other requirements. Just want to give you heads up. This won’t be an issue for those of you who already list your hours but it does affect the rest of you. You might want to talk with your colleagues to get their take on this…

  Here are some of the options that were listed by Diane at GAB:

  • Allow absentee voting during all office hours
  • Allow absentee voting during specified hours
  • Allow absentee voting during specified hours and by appointment at other times
  • Allow absentee voting by appointment during specified hours

  Here is the statute:

6.86 Methods for Obtaining an Absentee Ballot:

(1) (b) Except as provided in this section, if application is made by mail, the application shall be received no later than 5 p.m. on the 5th day immediately preceding the election. If application is made in person, the application shall be made no earlier than the opening of business on the 3rd Monday preceding the election and no later than 7 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election. No application may be received on a legal holiday. An application made in person may only be received Monday to Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day. A municipality shall specify the hours in the notice under s. 10.01 (2) (e) (which is the Type E Notice).

  In sum, one way or another, you’ll have to lock yourself down on the hours that you’ll be conducting in-person absentee voting, or making appointments, and stick to them, and it must take place during the 10 day in-person absentee voting period sometime between Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and no more than 45 hours a week.

Towns with part-time Town Clerks had great flexibility to meet a voter at the Town Hall on a weekend or any time that both could agree to be there and take care of this absentee voting. This appears to be gone now. It also appears that Town Clerks that have full time jobs plus part-time Town Clerk responsibilities will be most impacted by this set of changes.

(The Type E notice is for absentee voting. See here.)

Residents who planned to vote before they left town for a month or a week may find themselves limited in their use of the absentee ballot.

In summary, more local controls where none are needed. Another milestone in limiting voting to certain types of voters.

Faking Congressional Control to Fool the Public

I like Judge Napolitano but sometimes he writes things in reverse ( an amusing habit of his. Go read a few of his columns and you will see what I mean.) . Here is what he wrote. Please read it.

But here is the order that I wish he had written some paragraphs:

In our post 9/11 world, the government has gotten away with hiding its worst behavior behind a veil of secrecy, publicly justified by the fears of a loss of safety that it has instilled in the public. That is not condoned by the Constitution. Under the Constitution, a free people are always entitled to know what the government is doing, and we are entitled to a government that obeys the laws it enforces against the rest of us so we can replace the government when it fails to protect our freedoms.

In a democracy, the government must be accountable to the people it serves. Secrecy and accountability are enemies. The natural right to know what the government is doing means that secrecy must be severely and aggressively minimized. A Congress that rubber-stamps what secret agents want it to do by a secret procedure is a dangerous mix that will impair personal liberty in a free society.

The power of these (intelligence) committees effectively has established them as mini-Congresses that are unrecognized by the Constitution and are well outside its confines. The Constitution provides that “all legislative powers” are granted to Congress, not to a select few in Congress, but to Congress as a whole.

These are the same committees that have given permission to the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on all Americans all the time, so we are probably justified in concluding that the committees and the intelligence agencies they supposedly regulate are more attuned to governmental power than to personal liberty.

Over the years, as sometimes happens between regulators (the congressional committees) and the entity to be regulated (the CIA), they developed a chummy relationship. In this case, the relationship has been so chummy that at the behest of Presidents Bush and Obama the CIA has gone to the Senate and House Intelligence committees, instead of going to the full Congress, for permission to torture prisoners, kill Americans with drones and fight small-scale wars — all well beyond the statutory mission of stealing secrets.

When the CIA was established in 1947, Congress and President Truman were concerned that it might not confine itself to spying. Its sole statutory purpose was to steal secrets from foreign governments so that the U.S. would know what they were planning and could prepare for any behavior adverse to American government interests. By its nature, it was operating in secret, and because it lacked transparency, it lacked accountability. One of the statutory mechanisms to achieve accountability was to require the CIA to report to two committees of Congress, but in secret.

The government is caught up in another scandal in which federal agents have been accused of hacking into one another’s computers.

This is more than a schoolyard brawl. This is the unbridled and likely unlawful use of government computers and classified materials by CIA employees trying to dampen the enthusiasm of their regulators, or by Senate investigators accessing classified materials to which they may not be entitled. Either way, this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of warrantless searches and seizures. Any other persons who did this would be indicted for hacking. Because all of this is so secret, we don’t know whether the Department of Justice is looking into who broke what laws.

But we do know that like its cousin the NSA, the CIA often acts above the law. It does so knowing that indictments for torturing, destroying evidence or computer hacking are unlikely, as any trial would expose the depths of this skullduggery, the unconstitutional system of mini-Congresses and the secrets these employees are trying to keep from their employers — the American people.

It is obvious to me that the ruse is to create the appearance of oversight while actually rubber stamping the programs that take away our liberties and rights. Who will change the American government and align it with the Constitution again?

Electing Judges and the Supreme Court Ruling

What if elected judges were partisan and not objective? One would have Republican and Democrat judges.

What if the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were people and that they could spend as much money as they wanted on elections provided that they did not exceed the amounts for any one candidate?

What if the issues before the courts were religious-themed items like, for example, abortion, death penalties, gay marriage, gun control, and religious symbols on government property, would churches in America begin to flood the political arena with cash to get Christian or Muslim or Buddhist leaders elected to office?

What if every church made political donations to sway judges their way? Calls to prayer, adultery, divorce and a few other personal choices might become food for newly religious politicians.

What if corporations pitted their resources behind electing pro-business judges in personal injury cases or credit card laws or usury? How would those cases be settled differently?

And finally what would happen if the churches gave so much money that the business interests were secondary to the religious/moral issues in the country?

Hmmmm, and today the Supreme Court ruled that constraints on organizations were unconstitutional.



Is the US on the path to Social Democracy?

The statement I read said “To understand why the United States is on the path to social democracy….”

Social Democracy: a political movement that uses principles of democracy to change a capitalist country to a socialist one. 2. a country that uses both capitalist and socialist practices.

I don’t even know what that means today. The US has had a 20th century history replete with social changes installed by democratic means. Of course we are on the path of social democracy. Who can deny this? Minimum wage laws, worker rights embedded into laws, Medicare, MedicAid, food stamps, and now healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. It seems to me that America is already a social democracy.

Yet there are those who say that America has not gone far enough with socialist programs. You can bet that Income Inequality is the next thing on the Social Democrats agenda in the US. Some type of control over how much money is “shared” between the owners of a company and those who work in it. Is it any wonder that owners want to replace people with machines? Income Inequality goals and objectives will certainly spur that process along.

No one can reasonably argue but many accept that misery is God’s vision of the human condition. Perhaps human misery is a challenge that God has placed for Man to overcome. The social democrats see the goal of government to be a continuous reduction in human misery and continuous increase in opportunities to raise individual happiness. Many Christian Republicans/Conservatives see human misery as God’s Will and as an example that Christian values will help a person rise above his/her personal misery. (It is convenient to have bad examples to point to when discussing the Ten Commandments….Or so my fundamentalist friends point out to me.)

So where are we today? The battle between those who say the system is as God intended it to be (Conservative Christian Republicans) and those who say change the system because it is not working (Liberal Progressive Social Democrats) has now gone global. Around the world people and governments are being presented with choices to establish one or the other. And it is a Communication War between the two sides. Soon you will be asked to take sides.

What do you believe? Do you think that God intended there to be superior and inferior people with social processes that allows the superior to rise as the inferior fall? Is misery ordained by God for many people and whose only allowed hope is to accept their misery in the name of God towards a better afterlife than the current life?

If you do not believe that, do you believe that God intended Mankind to figure out how to care for his fellow man?

Makes one wonder why God was so mad at Cain when he said “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Was Cain exhibiting the qualities of today’s Christian Conservative Republicans? God made the process so who are we to question His wisdom? Is that the question? Cain was clearly misdirecting God’s question because his actions created misery and death for Abel.

America is already a social democracy in process. How can it be otherwise in a Representative Democracy? So far it seems that life has improved for a majority of people under the social programs accepted by the US government. There is no reason to suspect it will change as long as we all agree that the Constitution is the Law of the Land and not ‘just some damn piece of paper.”

Freedom of the Printing Press?

From 2011:

In his landmark new article on the press clause’s original meaning titled “‘The Freedom of…the Press,’ From 1791 to 1868 to Now- Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or the Press as a Technology,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh argues the Founders meant the press clause’s “the press” to be the printing press (a printing technology) and any future communication technology.  Crazy, right?  So the Founders really meant something more like “freedom of…the printing press” or “freedom in the use of the press”?

Volokh describes how, with no significant exceptions, prominent writers the Founders often cited, including William Blackstone, Jean-Louis De Lolme, and George Tucker, connected press freedom with the right of every “freeman,” “citizen,” or “individual” to “write,” “print,” or “publish” his or her thoughts.  This fact implies the Founders didn’t intend the press clause to protect the existing or future collection of “newsmongers” per se but rather to recognize the right of any person (or “freeman”) to use printing presses (Until 1694, England imposed licenses on publications, which the Founders abhorred).  James Madison’s following first draft of the Bill of Rights’ speech/press clauses highlights this point: “The people [emphasis added] shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”

So this morning, my ‘debating’ work colleague said that he supports journalism (freedom of the press) but not journalists as it applied to the Fox reporter who kept her sources private. He thinks that she should be tried for concealing the identity of the person who leaked her information during a judge’s gag order. Freedom of the Press is not an issue, he says, because the story was published and distributed and she does not receive immunity from prosecution because she is a reporter. His point was that an order of the court to gag public officials was legitimate and therefore she should be compelled to turn over her source who broke the law. I repeated the established journalists’ argument that if reporters are required to divulge their sources that their sources will dry up.
My colleague asked why should reporters receive special consideration and not be held accountable like other citizens. After all, no one else is allowed not to testify when ordered by a court. I replied that wives are not forced to testify against their husbands why should they receive special dispensation under the law.
My colleague replied that there is a clear definition of a wife and there should be a clear definition of a reporter. I said that a definition of journalism is precisely what will create journalists as a special class of people who cannot be charged with contempt of court. He dragged out an example of a reporter who witnesses a murder and refuses to tell the court who did it. I said 1. There is no moral equivalency between a gag order on public officials and murder and 2. He himself had argued many times that no one should be charged with a crime for lying to investigators. (Silence being the least offensive lie.)
This is when he said again that he supports journalism but not journalists.
All of this occurred between 7:45 a.m. and 7:55 a.m. this morning.
So I had to go look for more information and I found the article above that Freedom of the Press meant the freedom to print your opinion and distribute it. Freedom of the Press did not mean Freedom for Journalists. Yet the two are linked aren’t they?
In today’s language, Freedom of the Press, should be construed to mean spreading your opinion around by media and it should not be tied to a person’s job or credentials. It is the right of a person to distribute his message around the country. Pamphleteers of 1780 are akin to bloggers today in my opinion. If laws are created that set boundaries around what a ‘journalist’ is, then we have created a special class of people with special laws due to the job they perform. That is elitism and undemocratic.
The government’s purpose in defining a journalist is the power to suppress those who do not meet the definition. Over time, the government will seek to erode the special status of journalists for more control and more power. Does anyone doubt this? It won’t be through conspiracy but through opportunity. That is how these things work. ‘Striking while the iron is hot’ is the mantra of powerful people who seek opportunity to advance their causes, their hidden agendas.
The first amendment does say: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Please note that the sentence structure implies that the freedom of speech is linked to the freedom of the press.The authors wanted to be certain that no one in the future would think that the freedom of speech was limited to a person talking but that it included the ability to distribute speech in written form as well as in verbal form. Commentary was included as speech but was ‘news’? At that time, commentary and news were linked as one and the same.
What to say then about gag orders and the distribution of information by journalists, who obtained it from those who were bound by judicial decree not to release it? Should they be compelled to release their sources?
Perhaps the question is ‘does the Freedom of Speech also include the Freedom not to Speak?’ I think so. Without the ability to choose when to speak and on what topics, there cannot be freedom. But like all freedoms, there are limitations. One should not be permitted to remain silent when justice to a victim will be denied. Yet, one should not be compelled to remain silent with information about an alleged offender. Clearly that is what the judge was seeking with his gag order. He was compelling those with information about the offender not to release that information to the public and he wished to punish the offending law enforcement official who defied him.
There is no doubt that the court should pursue an investigation to determine the offender but that does not mean the court ought to compel a reporter to disclose his/her source. And that was the final result of the trial, wasn’t it? Well, no, actually. The ruling was whether New York’s Shield Law applied to New York journalists when they were traveling in other states. The New York Court system ruled that “an order from a New York court directing a reporter to appear in another state where, as here, there is a substantial likelihood that she will be compelled to identify sources who have been promised confidentiality would offend our strong public policy,”
The courts of New York have a public policy that ought not to be offended…apparently. Sigh… it is so complicated when the courts stray from the law and begin to support and establish public policy. The headline for that piece said “New York’s top court blocks Colorado from forcing Fox reporter to reveal sources or face jail”. Giving credit to the court system for supporting public policy is never good. Supporting the law is better.
So my conclusion is that while reporters and journalists are not enshrined with Constitutional protections per se, compelling them to reveal their sources effectively removes the benefits sought by the Freedom of the Press. I also conclude that New York Courts think more about its policies than the law and that is dangerous and offensive to me. And finally, New York’s Shield Law does precisely what I said it will do: it created a special class of citizens with more rights than you or I. The State of Colorado should feel snubbed by the State of New York for extending its Shield Law protections into other states. Will Colorado take this to the next level? I don’t know.