Chief Justice Roberts' Role

I think your two rebuttals pretty much answer the question: it's not the Court's role, and certainly not that of the Chief Justice on his own, to undertake these kinds of decisions. But the emoluments question is a real one, and watching how the Congress handles it will be revealing. - promoted by david

A genuinely serious question:

In the face of all of Trump’s known conflicts of interest, possible violations of the emoluments clause, etc., etc, will Chief Justice Roberts, by administering the presidential Oath of Office, be enabling violations of the Constitution inconsistent with his own oath as a justice of the Supreme Court?

My own rebuttals: 1) there’s not yet a case or controversy before the Court; 2) the Court does not impeach. But I would appreciate hearing opinions from those more knowledgeable.

The Affluenza President.

promoted by david

Trump attorney Sheri A. Dillon said that Trump ”should not be expected to destroy the company he built” when asked if he was going to put his investments, his assets, into a blind trust.  Ms. Dillon wants us to believe that doing so would destroy it, without telling us why or how.  We are simply to accept the spin that without his control, or the control of his hand picked people and his sons, his empire of hotels and golf courses would be destroyed.  I’ve been to a few hotels and golf courses and it’s difficult for me to understand how they can be destroyed if put in a simple blind trust.  But there is the alleged size of this company, and I say alleged because Trump has still refused to offer any proof of what he has, what he owes, and all the strings attached.  The argument seems to be that this is such an huge fortune, it would be unfair to ask Trump to risk losing it…….unfair?

I am a man of limited means. I have a small number of investments, like many people my age, somewhere under a million dollars.  It’s all the money that I have worked my entire life to save up.  It’s my one and only nest egg.  However, if I were being sworn in to office instead of Trump on Friday the 20th, I would be expected to put those investments in a blind trust, and I would do so without hesitation because all those ahead of me did so and so should I.  That would be fair.  And besides, I would  not be putting it in undue peril.   It would be in a blind trust, with a person or persons who were professionals in this area.  Even if disaster struck and they lost it all, I would still have what I was able to save on my $400K a year (plus expenses) president’s salary and a lifetime pension of over $200K a year.

Welcome back BMG - and by the way, Boston is holding it's own Inauguration for the Republic in Dewey Square 1/20/17

promoted by david

Some realities of identity politics, and what it means to give away individual choice [also called "moral agency"] hasn’t changed much. I love this Old Testament “I told you so” from the Prophet Samuel. I think it applies today, and not only in this country to the real results and risks of choosing a “strong leader” over being a responsible, educated citizen of a viable republic:

Told you so, ~600 BCE edition:

“So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, ‘These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’”
1 Samuel 8:10-18

For those that feel this way, there is a local “People’s Inauguration” where it will be the ideals of participatory democracy and the Republic Benjamin Franklin said would be ours if we fought to keep it, being inaugurated. Guess where? Dewey Square. And you are invited to THIS inauguration – official start time 3:30 PM. http://boston.carpediem.cd/events/2229635-boston-peoples-inauguration-investidura-popular-de-boston-posse-do-povo-boston-at-dewey-square/

"Trump is not a legitimate president"

Update to Fred's post: Trump has, indeed, gone after Rep. Lewis, falsely claiming that Lewis's district is "in horrible shape" and is "crime infested." Surprise. - promoted by david

So says the ‘Conscience of Congress’, Congressman John Lewis.  Because Russia helped elect Trump and destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

As of 11 pm Benedict Donald had not Twitter attacked the Human Rights icon.  But it’s early yet.

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Subtweets PEOTUS

Jack Jenkins, religion reporter at Think Progress, recently asked his Twitter followers: “what theology are you reading right now to cope?” (Cope with the disturbing presidential election results, that is.)

Many of us are reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), the German Lutheran pastor who devoted his career, and eventually gave his life, to opposing the Nazi regime and the complacent strain of Christianity that chose to accommodate it. The resistance movement that Bonhoeffer and others led is probably most famous for this warning against fascism’s insidious creep:

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Bonhoeffer’s writings always offer a bracing dose of courage. During these especially anxious days they also serve as quiet rebukes of the incoming Swaggerer-in-Chief. He was hanged by the Gestapo the year before the PEOTUS was born, yet Bonhoeffer offers antidotes to the odious bombast that surrounds us. In the vernacular of Twitter, in other words, he’s a divinely gifted subtweeter.

***

PEOTUS: Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich.

Bonhoeffer:  Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected.

***

PEOTUS: You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bonhoeffer: Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian’s life.

***

PEOTUS: The world was gloomy before I won – there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars

Bonhoeffer:  It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.

***

PEOTUS: Hillary Clinton is the vessel of a corrupt global establishment that’s raiding our country and surrendering the sovereignty of our nation.

Bonhoeffer: Nothing that we despise in other men is inherently absent from ourselves.

***

PEOTUS: Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country.

Bonhoeffer: If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.

Northeast warming more rapidly than most of the U.S.

promoted by david

This should scare the shit out of us.

P.S. I’m so happy BMG is back online, I really missed you guys!

Opaque Massachusetts budget process hides state's real priorities

promoted by david

(Cross-posted from The COFAR Blogsite)

In a preview this week of the Fiscal 2018 state budget, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center points out a key shortcoming in the budget process.

That process is not transparent, the nonpartisan think tank argues, because it doesn’t provide a needed context for the proposals and decisions that the governor and Legislature make.

As the Budget and Policy Center notes, that needed context lies in the release of a public “maintenance budget” that discloses the projected costs of continuing ”current services” from one fiscal year to the next. Without that “maintenance budget” context, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the public to really know whether proposed funding levels are meeting real needs or falling short of them.

The problem can be clearly seen in the current-year funding of group homes operated by the Department of Developmental Services.

Last January, Governor Baker proposed a $3.7 million — or 1.7 percent — increase in the DDS state-operated group home line item. But while that sounds like more funding for those facilities, it was in actuality a cut when adjusted for inflation.  The inflation rate was 1.8 percent, according to the Policy Center’s numbers.

It's not really about Trump, Part 2

promoted by david

People both hope for and worry about impeaching Trump and then being left with Pence. I’m not so worried by Pence. He plays by rules we know and know how to fight. And he’s about as charismatic as a piece of plywood. A McConnell/Ryan/Pence triumvirate would have great transparency and not a lot of populist appeal. And the same would have been true with any of the other Republican candidates. Like with Reagan, it would not be so hard to identify threats and develop narratives and strategies for countering them. Unlike Reagan, these are people who personally inspire little more than a sense that they could make for good walking dead characters in a zombie movie.

Trump, unfortunately, represents something that feels fresh, current, disruptive, and therefore, perversely appealing to many people. He plays by a set of rules that are in part tied to his (damaged, narcissistic) personality, and in part tied to strong cultural currents that underlie and are expressive of popular and national angst, including a pervasive sense of vulnerability. This derives partly from the economic dislocations that have been widely discussed in the wake of the election. But it is also rooted in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the “war on Terrorism” and how they have been cast and continue to be used by a variety of interests — political, commercial, military, and otherwise — to “sell” and profit from (in the broadest sense) fear and vulnerability.

I think our biggest long-term challenge as Democrats is to find ways to address this underlying sense of vulnerability and all of the ways in which it constricts the quest for a more progressive future. But more immediately, we need to protect the progress we have achieved. And this means engaging in tough nuts and bolts politics. The politics of morally-driven, outraged resistance. The politics of reaching out to the disaffected and most vulnerable, and coalition-building.

The one big opportunity presented in the current situation is that Trump and the McConnell/Ryan/Pence axis are not well aligned. Trump is a contemporary American cultural icon. He represents populist discontent and mobilization. McConnell is a reactionary cultural throwback. He represents the discontent of the walking dead. There are a lot of potential opportunities in the struggle to channel populist angst. And there are a lot of potential allies and tools in the fight against giving new life to old battles and deadly, morbid inequities.

It's not really about Trump

promoted by david

With all of the focus on Trump, we must not forget that in many ways, it’s Mitch McConnell (and to an only slightly lesser extent the Republican House leadership) who is the most evil force in play.

He’s the one who declared at the outset of Obama’s Presidency that Obama must fail. He has led the mission of not just stopping Democratic progress but of the larger project of essentially re-fighting the Civil War by other means, including rolling back the New Deal, Civil Rights, and Great Society programs that literally millions of men and women fought for for generations. He engineered the legislative blockade of just about everything Obama wanted to do, starting with sufficient stimulus following the housing collapse, and ensured the slow recovery that cost so many people their livelihoods and helped to create the depression-like circumstances in much of middle America and the resulting bitter climate that got Trump elected. He prevented the filling of a supreme court vacancy that is vital to his plan to ensure that federal and constitutional law continue to enable these plans.

And he is just getting started.

He is using the incredible windfall of complete partisan domination now, regardless (or perhaps under cover) of Trump’s carnival-creating capabilities/liabilities, to do exactly what he has always wanted: dismantle the “welfare” state and go back to some imagined naked form of pure capitalism — the amoral marketplace that happily rewards the nefarious as well as the good. And then let the bricks of modern social institutions fall where they may.

This is why we must not simply fight Trump. We must fight this entire reactionary moment — and with everything we’ve got.

White Non-College Educated

promoted by david

Donald Trump took 62% of the vote with “white non college graduate women” and 72% of the vote with “white non college educated men”.  

Is “white non-college educated” the new euphemism for white trash, clay eaters, waste people, mudsill, or countless other ways to describe this demographic?

I’m reading “White Trash”, an insightful historical perspective of poor working class non-minority Americans. I’m up to Chapter 11 where it mentions “identity politics” beginning in 1968. This line jumped off the page at me. “Some people can choose an identity, but many more have an identity chosen for them. White trash folks never took that name for themselves…..” In my opinion, our political parties now refer to them as “white, non-college educated”…..with the same disdain.

And how does the Democratic Party gain a foothold in this demographic?

Would Anybody Care to Talk About Treatment of the Press Now?

promoted by david

Just wondering.

Steve Kopack Verified account
‏@SteveKopack

.@Acosta says incoming WH press sec Spicer told him that if he tries to ask Trump a question again during the presser, he’d be tossed out

Call 202-225-3121 (US Senate) to vote no on Sessions and Tillerson

promoted by david

for Attorney General and Secretary of State.

After talking with Senator Warren and Markey’s office this morning I am convinced they are going to vote no on both nominations.

We are blessed to have two progressive giants representing us in the Senate.

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia