Let's Fix This Country
democracy

Supreme Court Allows Still More Money Into Politics

All those gifts to Virginia governor were innocent

What are we to make of the Supreme Court's overturning the conviction of Virginia's former governor, Bob McDonnell, at the end of June? And the vote was unanimous — 8-0. True, the court ruled on grounds specific to this case, saying that the instructions to the convicting jury were overly vague. True also that the court remanded the case to the lower court for that reason, which left open the possibility that McDonnell could be retried. And true as well that Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the Court, found McDonnell's actions "distasteful". But the question is how wide will be the fallout affecting corruption cases now being tried and those in the future.

The decision drew little attention, announced as it was in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The question was whether it was illegal for McDonnell and wife to accept while in office lavish gifts from the CEO of a food supplement business named Jonnie Williams, absent proof that McDonnell had taken any official action in Williams' behalf. He wanted the governor to spur the state's public universities to conduct research on a product that Williams' company marketed. His hope was that the research would win official confirmation that the tobacco-derived…

the election

E-mail. Benghazi. Why So Little Attention to the Clinton Money Trail?

Hillary Clinton clearly believes that rules do not apply to her, and "this is precisely the kind of governance" we can expect were she to be elected president, warns a Wall Street Journal editorial.

That was deserved, given her use of a private server for e-mail while secretary of state. In the face of a scathing report from the State Department's inspector general, she would only acknowledge that using a private server was "a mistake". She had refused to hand in that server, holding back 32,000 e-mails she decided were "personal". She had said she would cooperate fully with the investigation, but she and several of her top aides refused to be interviewed by the IG. One e-mail in the 30,000 that were turned in to investigators said she rejected an aide's suggestion to switch to an official e-mail address because, "I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible". Exposing government business to cyber hacking was a lesser concern, evidently.

Of a different sort was the relentless crusade by those on the right to make her responsible for the inadequate security that led to the loss of life in the attack in Benghazi in September 2012 and for then, fearing…

the election

Trump Dog Whistles Evangelicals That He’s Their Guy

By guest columnist Al Rodbell

Trump's recent meeting with hundreds of leaders of the Christian Right was closed to outsiders, but somehow much leaked out, including this covert video that begins with words to the effect of...

“There's nothing out there about Hillary’s religion, nothing. I think it will be an extension of Obama. At least with him we know what we were starting with and could be alert”.

Interpretation in plain English: “There is no evidence that Hillary is a Christian, and could well be a Muslim, like we know Obama is. But at least we were on the lookout for him, while Hillary is “passing” as Christian. So she could be anti-Christian like that other deceiver.

Evangelists relate to this and know that the Devil is also known as the great deceiver. They know this passage:

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3

The crowd knew well of…

economy

Why Not a Basic Income for Everyone? »

"If you want to end poverty, just give people money"

With growth stalled at 1.5%, with wages flat for decades and household income $4,000 less than when Bill Clinton left office, with a Federal Reserve survey finding
that 46% of Americans could not cover a $400 emergency expense without borrowing or selling something, here's an idea that's often floated. How about the government just paying everyone a basic income every year?

That surely must top the list of nutty ideas that bleeding-heart liberals have come up with.

Except they didn't. It's a Republican scheme, going back at least to Richard Nixon and Milton Friedman before him. Nixon proposed in a 1969 address on domestic programs that "the Federal Government build a foundation under the income of every American family". There were limitations, but the idea was given voice and it persists.

The Finns are considering the idea and the Swiss just voted on it in a…

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the election

Was Trump Just in It for the Money?

Seems preposterous, but he hasn't ruled out quitting even if he wins

With his hour-and-fifteen minute acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, Donald Trump's promises to fix everything that is wrong in the country — and fast — say that he's in the race to the end. But just so we can say we were aware of the possibility should it happen, we'll take a last look at a frequent conjecture that Trump was — at first, anyway — just in the running for the money and, whether before or after the election, he might just take the money and run.

Just a month ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested Trump would quit if offered $5 billion. "I guess we'd have to think about it", Trump quipped(?).

The questions of serious commitment burbled to the surface whenever he insulted yet another voting bloc with an ethnic slur or angered conservatives
Trump press conference at his Mar-a-Lago Club

with his occasional leftward blasphemies. His string of unforced errors bring to mind "The Producers", the comedy in which Zero Mostel deliberately fails so as to pocket the money.

Or might a psychiatrist adduce that a deeper part of him is doing its utmost to see that he self-destructs. So very ill-prepared is he to handle the difficulties and complexities of the Oval Office, that even braggadocian Trump must have secret fears of what lies ahead should he win.

But what if Trump, who entered the race as a complete outsider who knows so little about national affairs or international matters ("Belgium is a beautiful city", he said; he drew a blank when asked about Brexit), believed he wouldn't go far but would profit by trumpeting the Trump brand… Read More »

Checks & Balances? The Three Branches Are Stepping on Each Other’s Turf

Senate Republicans repeatedly rebuke President Obama for what they claim is his unconstitutional abuse of executive power, but they have no qualms about themselves violating the Constitution by ignoring its mandate to provide "Advice and Consent" for Obama's choice of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. This inaction both blocks the Executive branch, preventing the President from exercising his Constitutional responsibility to nominate and appoint justices, and hobbles the Judicial branch's ability to decide what the law is. It "erodes the rule of law and leaves major issues in limbo", writes Obama in The Wall Street Journal.

Obama has usurped the Legislative branch, it would argue, by deciding on a three-year moratorium halting deportation of some four million undocumented parents of children born here and therefore citizens. That's just one of several hijackings of their right to make the… Read More »

media

Is Your Newspaper Named Facebook?

The behemoth wants to control all you see

Something of a scandal erupted in May when the website Gizmodo reported that Facebook slants left in the stories it selects for the "Trending" news list it serves up on your Facebook home page.

But the bias concern is not our topic. What was startling was mention that a Pew Research study had found that 63% of Americans consider Facebook and Twitter to be news services and go there to get their news. And Facebook Pulls the Rug from Under: 
July 7: An alarming percentage of Americans turn to Facebook for news, and news organizations have provided their content to Facebook as something of a desperate attempt to lure readers to their sites. Facebook has lured them to do so, yet has just announced that it will demote news in its "News Feed" and give greater priority to postings from friends and family. That compounds what this article says about the ever diminishing exposure of Americans to what is happening in their country and the world.
    

that report proved to be from almost a year ago. The 63% is up from 52% of Twitter users and 47% of Facebook users who answered the same Pew question in 2013. With the dominance of especially Facebook constantly on the rise, the percentage is certainly higher by now.

That print journalism is in deep decline, done… Read More »

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