Friday, June 30, 2017

DISGRACEFUL, LEGALLY INCORRECT OPINION BY TX SUPREME COURT

"The Texas Supreme Court on Friday sided with same-sex marriage opponents who argued that the city of Houston should not have extended its benefits policy to married same-sex couples. The court threw out a lower court ruling that had favored the benefits and sent the case back to a lower court.
The benefits policy was enacted by Houston's former, and first openly gay, mayor, Annise Parker, in 2013.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must extend benefits to married same-sex couples. In 2015, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. At issue is whether that ruling requires public agencies to provide benefits to same-sex spouses of government employees.
The plaintiffs — two taxpayers represented by same-sex marriage opponents — contend that Houston's benefits policy goes further than the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell decision requires. The Texas Supreme Court, in Pidgeon v. Houston, agreed.
As KUT explained, the Texas Supreme Court originally declined to hear the case, which upheld the lower court's decision, but reversed course "under pressure from top Texas Republicans":
"Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in October asking the all-Republican court to reconsider. They also asked the court to clarify that the U.S. Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, does not 'bind state courts to resolve all other claims in favor of the right to same-sex marriage.' "
http://www.npr.org/2017/06/30/535021154/texas-supreme-court-rules-against-benefits-for-same-sex-couples


"The state Supreme Court’s refusal to extend state spousal benefits to same-sex couples is an insidious attempt to defy Obergefell v. Hodges."  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/06/texas_supreme_court_refuses_to_extend_spousal_benefits_to_same_sex_couples.html

"As the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Constitution “entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage ‘on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.’” Indeed, just this week in Pavan v. Smith, the Court reaffirmed its holding that the benefits of marriage must be granted to same-sex couples “on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.”
Nevertheless, the Texas Supreme Court held on Friday that the benefits of marriage may not need to be granted to same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples. And the Texas court reached this frivolous conclusion in an unanimous opinion."
https://thinkprogress.org/texas-supreme-court-same-sex-couples-d8e8e8228133

First part of U.S. Supreme Court decision in Pavan v. Smith.  https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-992_868c.pdf
PER CURIAM.
As this Court explained in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. ___ (2015), the Constitution entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples." Id., at ___ (slip op., at 23). In the decision below, the Arkansas Supreme Court considered the effect of that holding on the State's rules governing the issuance of birth certificates. When a married woman gives birth in Arkansas, state law generally requires the name of the mother's male spouse to appear on the child's birth certificate—regardless of his biological relationship to the child. According to the court below, however, Arkansas need not extend that rule to similarly situated same-sex couples: The State need not, in other words, issue birth certificates including the female spouses of women who give birth in the State. Because that differential treatment infringes Obergefell's commitment to provide same-sex couples "the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage," id., at ___ (slip op., at 17), we reverse the state court's judgment." [emphasis added]

Trump's appointee dissented.  Will Gorsuch be the new Roger Taney (of the Dred Scott decision)?

See also Frontiero v. Richardson, 93 S.Ct. 1764 (1973).

I suppose next Texas' politicians-- judicial, legislative or executive-- will be telling us that the state and Texas local governments don't have to provide benefits equal to traditional, opposite sex couple where one of the partners  of a white spouse is a black or one of the spouses is a Muslim.  All of these scenarios, and the current one, have the same ideological supremacist and stigmatizing rationale. The ruling will result in loss of benefts for the same-sex spouse

I took both a Constitutional Law and a Civil Rights course in law school.  I have taught constitutional law at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  I have read dozens of books on the topic and regularly read relevant Supreme Court decisions and related articles.  I am aware of the long history of reactionary attempts by the Texas Supreme Court and legislature to justify unlawful discrimination against blacks, black and white couples, black schoolchildren, etc.. Anyone who cares about the rule of law, the constitutional right to equal protection of the law, and knows anything about those legal provisions and relevant U.S. S.Ct. decisions knows this a B.S. opinion.  It is a sad day when close-mindedness and political influence trump the rule of law in a state Supreme Court.

TRUMP'S WHITE HOUSE TOO SECRETIVE


The Founding Fathers, First Amendment, U.S. Supreme Court and many others have recognized that transparency is necessary to keeping government honest and efficient. Without an active media, the people's right to know is meaningless.  Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Trump and many Republicans hate and fear the media.
Republicans kept the media out of its work group on health care in the Senate. The Trump administration has attempted to put the media on a leash.  The Pres. says the respects the media but calls them the enemy of the state and tries to conceal.
http://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-dallas-morning-news/20170629/281749859369730

CONGRESSIONAL MALE REPUBLICANS AND WOMEN


Like their President, too many male Republican congressional leaders reflect sexist attitudes.  There are 5 female Republican senators.  None was included in the 13-man working group that came up with the first draft of the current Republican health care plan.  I guess women have no unique health issues that need to be addressed.  Health care is not the only area.  Access to birth control, and, esp. abortion are, issues where Republicans in many states have moved aggressively against women and their rights.

"After the House passed a health care bill that gave states the option to drop pregnancy and maternity care from required insurance coverage, Republican leaders in the Senate seemed poised to answer criticism from women. Instead they courted more, naming a 13-member, all-Republican working group on health care legislation, without a single woman on it — forcing Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who approved the panel, on the defensive  a few weeks ago.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us/politics/health-care-women-senate.html

See also

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-health-care-bill-women_us_590b63a0e4b0d5d9049a2daf

TRUMP'S BULLY PUPPET TWEETS

Trump's latest cyber-bulling and sexist escapade (involving a female talk show personality, Mika B. ,  who criticized the Prez., has drawn widespread criticism, even from those in his party.  This kind of behavior sends the wrong message to teens who are prone to bully others--often with horrible results (e.g. teen suicide, depression).

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/29/donald-trumps-morning-joe-insults-spark-outrage-accusations-misogyny/439876001/

For a list and text of Trumps offensive, sexist remarks see
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/politics/donald-trump-sexism-tracker-every-offensive-comment-in-one-place/

In an interview months ago Trumps wife said she wanted to do something about Cyber bullying.  She needs to do something about him.

When are  Trumpista politicians and supporters going to face the reality about the character of the man in the Oval Office? When are more Republican women in Congress going to see the light? Will this be the final straw that breaks the camel's back?  Let's hope so.

TRUMP: WORST PRESIDENTIAL ROLE-MODEL EVER

As I and others have stated before, the election of Trump has been interpreted, rightly or wrongly, accurately or inaccurately, as support for the alt-right and various supremacy movements.  Except perhaps for those into history and politics, the current President is seen as a worthy role model.  Why would millions of people have voted for him is spite of his numerous outrages statements spanning many years.  The looseness of the President and his administration with the truth and facts also sets a model for many.  The forceful ejection of peaceful protesters from Trump campaign stops suggests and unhealthy tolerance for force.  Many Trumpistas see that a carte blacnhe for previously unacceptable, if not illegal behavior.   The Attorney General has cut back on federal intervention into unlawful use of force by police and wants to reinstate the failed 'war on drugs.'  One senses a hard, mean, scorched earth policy toward those who are not liked.  The message to many out there is clear. It's OK to violate laws and engage in disgraceful behavior. It is  disgraceful message.  I'm not saying these kinds of event never happened before.  Trump and the alt-right Republicans have encouraged such behavior, intentionally or not.

Here are some examples.
1.  Trump and women.  His recorded 'crotch grabbing' remarks were disgusting.  He has a long history of immature put downs of women.  He treats them as a true sexist would.  Here's a recent example.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4649786/Caitriona-Perry-relives-bizarre-President-Donald-Trump.html
More on the Mika B incident later
For a complete list and text  of his sexist statements see
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/politics/donald-trump-sexism-tracker-every-offensive-comment-in-one-place/

2.  City Councilman in Ohio suggests that one way to deal with the opiate addiction epidemic is to refuse EMS service for multiple overdose patients.  Where do they find these people? 'Scorched earth' policy for these citizens.  Would anyone have dared to say such an outarageous thing before Trump and the alt-right emergence. What is his mentality?  Hopefully he will be voted out, but don't count on it.  There are lots of alt-right, scorched earth, Trump toadies and sycophants out there.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/06/28/a-council-members-solution-to-his-ohio-towns-overdose-problem-let-addicts-die/?utm_term=.c18dcf97a4fe

3.  Three young black women who were fashionably, modestly and appropriately dressed black women were denied access to a bar in Dallas.  The bouncer said they didn't meet the dress code.  The owner later said he didn't know this was required by city ordinance.  He did not produce a written copy during the interview.  He said that there was a fight and the Texas ABC regulations required him to not let anyone else in the bar.   Why didn't the bouncer tell these women this--if it really happened?  Advertising media for the bar shows women who are much less well-dressed than these 3.  There have been prior similar complaints against the bar.  The matter is under investigation. Sounds like a cover-up to me.  Stay tuned.

"It's déjà vu all over again. Three summers ago, the city and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division intervened after DeAndré Upshaw was denied entry to Kung Fu Saloon because of his sneakers but really because of his skin. The bar eventually had to pay a fine and agree to actually follow the law. Yet years later, stories still abound in which patrons say they've been denied entrance to Trophy Room and other Uptown clubs based on dress codes that aren't publicly posted and used whenever bouncers want to keep black and brown people out.
https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/06/29/yet-allegations-uptown-bars-dress-code-means-minorities

See also http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/dallas-county/women-allege-racism-kept-them-out-of-uptown-dallas-bar/451331293

These kinds of allegations and incidents are happening regularly in the U.S. and overseas and in Europe. Just google the topic for examples.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

MORE ON SENATE REPUB. HEATLH CARE BILL


The Senate Republican health care bill was drawn up in private sessions.  No Dems, media or citizens were invited.  If transparency is the ultimate sanitizer, secrecy must be ultimate concealer of festering feces.  Some Repub. Senators say the have not seen the final draft of the bill.
http://www.newsweek.com/john-mccain-health-care-senate-republicans-627720
 Is this how American democracy is supposed to work.  I guess with Trump and his toadies we now have a new set of rules.  If you have democratic values, you should be concerned with these 'government in secret' tactics.  If you don't care about how American democracy works, it probably doesn't bother you.

A new poll shows that a majority of Americans do not support the bill.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/28/suffolk-poll-obamacare-trump-senate-health-care-plan/103249346/

The bill includes a classic con.  They promise lower premiums and more flexibility.  They forget to mention that the CBO says out-of-pocket costs will rise for most Americans.  The elderly, those with chronic illnesses, traumatic injuries will be hit very hard. Those who are not affluent could be squeezed unmercifully.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/27/us/premiums-under-senate-health-plan.html


  This, just makes economic sense.  You lower prices and limit benefits. Medicare, which is relied on by many senior citizens and the 'masses' will be cut. Yet, the Repubs. refuse to acknowledge this.  Why not work on reducing the cost of health care costs? Republicans have no interest in this.  Too many seem only to be interested in putting more $ in the pockets of the health care industry tycoons and America's wealthiest citizens.The cost for America's wealthiest citizens will go down.  They are the ones who need it the least. Who do you think is buying into expensive concierge medicine plans?

Fortunately, this plan will probably fail.  The public is wising up.  Conservative Repub. Senator says the Senate leadership's timetable for passing the bill will happen when  "pigs can fly".

Many Republicans are reluctant because of the cuts.  Others are just disdaining the masses (see related post).  Some seem to be taking a scorched earth approach in supporting the bill (e.g Senator Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.)  I just don't understand this disdain, if not hatred, for America's less affluent citizens. 

TRUMP, REPUBLICAN AND ANY RAND'S DISDAIN FOR THE MASSES

Personal note:  If I had to put a label on my political views I would say I am a 'cautious libertarian.'  I have never understood why many libertarians have adopted the Randian version.  I tried reading her two most famous books and found them intellectually barren. All they are is a celebration of narcissism,  and individuality over all other values. The ideas are popular because they tell many people what they want to hear.  See the book, "The Culture of Narcissism." (the author blames, among others acquisitive capitalism, and left-wing 'entitlement' theory)
See also
https://www.themonthly.com.au/

My own version of  'libertarianism' is based on constitutional values and the ideas of the 'Founding Fathers.'  My main criticism of libertarianism is that it has a naive faith in rationality and humanity of human beings, and a blindness toward the dysfunctions, harms and frauds of free-market capitalism. 

Trump, Randians, and Republicans in general show a general disdain for the masses.  Many are in the masses themselves.  They cut their own threats because Trump et al. feeds their supremacists appetites and takes their side in the culture wars.  It's pretty obvious that the Republicans favor corporations and the affluent.  Trump claims to champion them and too their votes, but his policies, show otherwise little or no serious support.  (e.g. support for the Republican Senate health care bill. Propping up coal mining jobs which will  inevitably all butvdisappear is not support for the working class.)

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-embraces-ayn-rand-disdain-masses-579685

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CBO REVEALS REPUB. HEALTH CARE BILL DELUSIONS

Pres. Trump promised during his campaign thtat the first bill he would sign would be a repeal of and replacement of Obamacare. Seven months later, Congress, which has Republican majorities in both houses, can't even come up with a bill. The current Senate bill will probably also fail.  A report from the non-partisan CPO  contradicts Trump's and Republican claims about their Obamacare repeal and replace bill. Trump says the CBO is wrong. Who would you trust most?  Politicians for the CBO.  Not being a delusional ideologue, I'd go with the CBO.  Is this any way to run a law-making institution?  Making decisions on the basis of delusions is inefficient and dangerous.
 
"WASHINGTON Twenty-two million Americans would lose insurance over the next decade under the U.S. Senate Republican healthcare bill, a nonpartisan congressional office said on Monday, complicating the path forward for the already-fraught legislation.

After the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican, said she could not support moving forward on the bill as written.

Collins' opposition highlights the delicate balance that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must strike as he tries to deliver a legislative win to President Donald Trump by reconciling the Republican Party's moderate and conservative wings.

Moderate senators are concerned about millions of people losing insurance. Key conservative senators have said the Senate bill does not do enough to repeal Obamacare.

The CBO assessment that an additional 15 million people would be uninsured in 2018 under the bill and its prediction that insurance premiums would skyrocket over the first two years prompted concern from both sides."

TRUMP: MOST INCONSISTENT PRESIDENT EVER

It appears that Pres. Trump wakes up to a brand new world every morning.  Perhaps that's too strong.  Let's try "he wakes up to a new delusion every morning."  Perhaps that's too strong.  Let's try 'he wakes up to new alternative facts every morning."
The points is, the man is wildly inconsistent.
At one point NATO was obsolete, now he's all in except perhaps for a fair payment issue.  First, there was no Russian attempt to influence the 2016 Presidential election.  Then, Obama knew about it and did nothing.  This statement was then followed by a delusional statement that Obama did nothing about it because it was benefitting the Russians.  First, he is not being investigated and then the investigation is a 'witch hunt"
You figure it out. For additional examples see
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/13/donald-trump-policies-have-been-inconsistent/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/25/the-remarkable-inconsistency-of-trumps-attacks-on-the-media/?utm_term=.5397374d133a

Want more?  Just google 'Trump inconsistent.

Monday, June 26, 2017

S.CT. HANDS TRUMP PARTIAL, INTERIM VICTORY ON MUSLIM BAN


By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung | WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by reviving parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that he said is needed for national security but that opponents decry as discriminatory.
 
The justices narrowed the scope of lower court rulings that had completely blocked key parts of a March 6 executive order that Trump had said was needed to prevent terrorism in the United States, allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties such as family or business to the United States. [tmsnrt.rs/2seb3bb]
The court issued its order on the last day of its current term and agreed to hear oral arguments during its next term starting in October so it can decide finally whether the ban is lawful in a major test of presidential powers.
By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung | WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by reviving parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that he said is needed for national security but that opponents decry as discriminatory.
 
The justices narrowed the scope of lower court rulings that had completely blocked key parts of a March 6 executive order that Trump had said was needed to prevent terrorism in the United States, allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties such as family or business to the United States. [tmsnrt.rs/2seb3bb]
The court issued its order on the last day of its current term and agreed to hear oral arguments during its next term starting in October so it can decide finally whether the ban is lawful in a major test of presidential powers.
By Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung | WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by reviving parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that he said is needed for national security but that opponents decry as discriminatory.
 
The justices narrowed the scope of lower court rulings that had completely blocked key parts of a March 6 executive order that Trump had said was needed to prevent terrorism in the United States, allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties such as family or business to the United States. [tmsnrt.rs/2seb3bb]
The court issued its order on the last day of its current term and agreed to hear oral arguments during its next term starting in October so it can decide finally whether the ban is lawful in a major test of presidential powers."
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-immigration-idUSKBN19H1OR?DCMP=NWL-pro_top

This was a compromise decision among the Justices.  The final decision will come next year.  At this point, this was a good decision. In his first big case, Gorsuch acted like a Trump toady.  I had higher hopes for him.


Friday, June 23, 2017

SUPREMACISTS AND AMERICA TODAY


It’s time to start to connect the dots about the Trump election, chaos and catastrophe and what is happening in America.  Look at our history, look at the public opinion surveys, follow current events, get off Facebook and your phone, get out of the echo chamber, and utilize critical thinking.  Start trying to understand it.  Here’ a brief overview of  how I see it.

(Personal disclosure, etc. Three presidential elections ago I felt Obama was unqualified for lack of government experience.  However, given my horror at the thought of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the Presidency, I voted for Obama.  When Obama was challenged by Romney I voted for Romney.  I was initially not in favor of Obamacare.  However, now that we have it and it has allowed many poor and working-class people to get health insurance, and the billions of dollars that were spent by the state and federal governments, insurance companies, doctor’s offices, medical suppliers, etc. to get things set up for it, repeal looks like an irrational, ideologically driven way to expression of hatred for all-things Obama and the people who benefitted from it.  Even though is am a registered Republican I did not vote for Trump. He was obviously unfit on almost every important criterion.  I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.  Her lying, recklessness, arrogance. and self-righteousness made her unfit.  I voted for Gary Johnson.  IMHO, if you call yourself a ‘libertarian’ and voted for one of those two disgusting figures, you need to figure what is your REAL political philosophy.  If you know me, or have read these posts, you know I do not give the left a carte blanche.  I am, for instance, very concerned about left-wing extremist attacks on First Amendment rights. However, right now the greatest threat comes from the far right.)

It’s time to face the cold, hard facts. the election of Donald Trump has encouraged right-wing extremists to come out of the closet.  Trump has made bigotry acceptable.  His campaign strategy, was to draw out these extremists and get them to vote for him.  Now, he and his toadies, and sycophants, and alt-right conservatives need to feed the monsters he has created with more of the same thinly-veiled bigotry.  Their political power depends on it.

As I suggested in a prior post, challenges to hierarchy any society will be met with strong opposition and even violence by those who think they and people like them are the ‘superior race.’  Why all the black lynchings over the decades?

What precisely is the nature of this supremacy?  American was founded by white males who were at least nominally Protestant Christians.  Back then, homosexuality, cross-dressing, etc. were disgusting to these people.  Heterosexuality and the woman’s duty to submit to her husband’s sexual needs was the norm. One theme that appears in much of the alt-right literature is that this country was created by this super-race—white Christians.  Men were viewed as superior to women.  Slavery was justified by a theory of white supremacy and God-given black inferiority. 

In contrast to today’s definitions, ‘white’ back then, and for many today, ‘white’ meant western and northern European.  The Nazis called this super-race “Aryans.” These were the founders of the nation Catholics immigrants, even though nominally white were shunned.  Catholics eventually gained greater acceptance, but were not viewed as equals. Anti-Semitism has a long history in Western Europe and in this country also.

Further details will come in further posts, but the basic supremacy obsession of the alt-right and evangelical extremists is that white conservative Christians who are heterosexual males are superior to all others.  Waves of immigration by ‘foreigners’ (e.g. Chinese, Jews, Irish) was met by disgust.  The current obsession is with Muslims and Mexicans and Central Americans (immigration rules and border walls).  Opposition to gay marriage, LGBT rights, transsexuality, immigrants, a woman’s right to abortion, etc. is based on the threats to white conservative Christian heterosexual male supremacy.

One of the events that these people found especially distasteful was the election or a black male who was allegedly a Muslin and was not even born in the U.S.  The far-right hates Obama. This was the ultimate affront to their superiority.  The attempt to repeal Obamacare, overturn Obama executive orders re civil rights, education, environmental protection, etc. is, for many, not a fight about policy, but a fight about white supremacy. It is obsession for many right-wing people and politicians.

Not everyone on the far-right fits this model, but it appears to be many.

The ultimate, evolutionary-psychology base for much of this is the trait called ‘tribalism’.  See the book Our Political Nature for a scholarly look at this phenomenon.  An individual ‘nurture’ can enhance or moderate this basic trait.

Human beings are masters at hiding the truth and their true motivations from themselves and others. Let me suggest that too many, but not all on the far-right suffer from the following intellectual maladies Opposition to gay marriage is really disgust over homosexuality.  The bathroom bill obsession is not about protecting women in restrooms.  It is an attempt to strike back at transsexuals and their liberal allies by an oblique strategy.  The Shariah law alt-right insanity is the dumbest of all.  Anyone who know anything about the law-making process, politics in democracy where Moslems are small minority, the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment establishment clause knows this campaign is complete B.S.  It is just another reflection of hate and fear of a competing religion.  For too many alleged interference with their absolute right to freedom of religion is a cover.  No right is absolute, but for these folks their religion trumps the rule of law, and the Constitution.  It’s time to rise above the B.S. and face the facts

‘Nuff said—for now.  See future posts for links and more discussion on specific issues (e.g. Sharia law).

NEW APPROACH AT THE BLOG


There is a new-plain-speaking approach at my blog and my e-mails.  See, for example, the post  that was made after this one.  Why the change?  I have long been inspired by the quote below. Our current crisis and potential future, has spurred me to action.
You may be familiar with this quote.
First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Please read this article at Wikipedia re this quote. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...

I am not attempting to equate Trump and the far-right with specific topic of this quote. The basic message would be the same, no matter who or what the context.
Some people are rightly more focussed on surviving economically in a society with exreme dysfunctional economic disparity.  However, too many people are ‘too busy,’ too afraid, too lacking in appropriate values, stuck in their echo chambers, more concerned with their ideologies or beliefs that basic concept of honesty, decency, morality, and the values of America’s democracy and its constitution.  Perhaps they live in a world of individual or group delusion which allows then to disregard reality.  People still deny the existence of the Holocaust, that protecting slavery was the main motivation for secession which lead to the Civil War.  People in Japan still blame the U.S. for starting WWII in the Pacific. 
Many people wonder how Germany, one of the world’s greatest countries could have let itself fall under the horrible sway of Hitler.  Hitler was not the only alternative the problems of Germany at the time.  Too many people didn’t care, weren’t aware or agreed with Hitler’s hatred of the Jews and his theory of Aryan Supremacy.  The quote hints at the answer.
I am inspired by Niemoller’s quote.  I have long studied politics, government, history, law and ideology, looking for insight and understanding.  I care about this country and its people, human values and constitutional rights.  I’m fed up with incompetent, unethical, lying and dissembling politicians.  I’m tired of government employees with the same maladies.  The rise of “alternative facts, post-truth attitudes, echo chambers, political polarization, smart phone obsession” and other factors have placed out democracy and the values I hold dear in jeopardy.  I, like many Americans find it increasingly different to be proud of our country. We are a laughingstock among much of educated Europe and its leaders.  The tragic worst-case example is the election and record of our current President, Donald Trump.  His Presidency is unparallelled in American history.   His immaturity, impulsivity, disregard for the truth, lack of ethics makes some of our worst Presidents look saintly by comparison.  Never, in my lifetime have we seen such chaos and continuing scandals.  For instance, never before has a former FBI Director labelled a President a liar.  Never before has a President had his air-head daughter a special advisor.  Never before has a President appointed so many unqualified, ideological driven, Cabinet, advisors and officials.  Steven Bannon is a far-right ideologue far beyond belief.  He has made some good appointments (e.g. Neil Gorsuch) but overall the record of appointments is abominable.

I have been following President’s closely since LBJ, and have read extensively in American history written by real history scholars (e.g. Eric Foner). IMHO, Trump is, by far, the worst President in American history.  We have not been in such a divisive crisis since secession and the Civil War.

For me, it’s time to speak out!  I have conscience. I care about humanistic values, human beings, the rule of law, constitutional rights, our Constitution.  I am sick of irrational ideologues who think only of themselves and their ideology.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

TRUMP: NO TAPES OF COMEY MEETINGS

"Trump says he has no Comey tapes
'I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,' Trump tweets, a day before a deadline to hand over any tapes."
 
Why didn't he just give us the answer nearly SIX WEEKS ago when the question was asked?  Does he not know whether or not his conversation are taped and had to ask someone.  Trump is largely incompetent as a President, but is this more incompetence or just his usual BS?  How can this rationally be defended.  I stress the word rationally

"And in the end, it wasn't just another bluff from Trump; it was another bluff that was called and that continued to chip away at Trump's honesty and credibility, for no discernible benefit."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/06/22/gingrich-just-admitted-trump-was-being-dishonest-about-white-house-tapes-because-nothing-matters/?utm_term=.9e1f4bc1dad7
 
As a former prosecutor I am always suspicious of questionable assertions, etc. from the subjects of criminal investigations.  Perhaps the delay resulted form weight various options and now the tapes have been destroyed.  This would be both obstruction of justice and a violation of federal law which says that the tapes are the property of the U.S. people, and destruction is a crime.  Is this doing to be a  Watergate deja vu'?
  
 
 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

1964 Civil Rights Act--landmark legislation


"On June 19, 1964, the Senate ended a long debate, overcoming a record-setting filibuster to join the House in approving the Civil Rights Act. The landmark law was a turning point in American history, as it addressed discrimination and segregation on a national level.
Link: See the Civil Rights Act

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/on-this-day-congress-passes-the-civil-rights-act

This landmark civil rights bill would not have gone through without LBJ's pushing.  Southern white supremacists in the Senate attempted to block it by filibustering which did not work.  This was one of his proudest moments. To bad he spoiled his reputation later with adventurism in Viet Nam.

CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF COPS FOR KILLING

"It is a genuinely open question whether an American police officer can do almost anything without suffering criminal consequences. Americans have a profoundly stupid and misguided deferential attitude toward law enforcement, one which presumes that police officers—fallible, often incompetent, and frequently temperamental human beings—are worthy of some sort of extra-special benefit of the doubt about their professional behavior. American citizens have no problem suing doctors for their back molars on the flimsiest of pretexts, but we generally cannot bring ourselves to convict police officers for demonstrably inept and reckless behavior that often costs people their lives."
http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/19/acquittal-verdict-philando-castile-case-abomination/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=a996e34390-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-a996e34390-83777437
This is a conservative website.

I agree with the statement, but, don't know enough about the specific case to agree or not agree with the rest of the article.

Thanks to 44 shot for the link.

TEEN GUILTY IN ENCOURAGING SUICIDE CASE

A Massachusetts judge found 18-year-old Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her friend, Conrad Roy III. Roy committed suicide in July 14, in part, as the court ruled, because of Carter's text messages encouraging him to kill himself. The verdict stunned some legal experts and the case raised some thorny issues regarding criminal liability for suicide, free speech, and technology. - See more at: http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2017/06/teen-guilty-of-manslaughter-for-encouraging-friends-suicide-with-texts.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top#sthash.IkzWPKhs.dpuf
or
http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2017/06/teen-guilty-of-manslaughter-for-encouraging-friends-suicide-with-texts.html?DCMP=NWL-pro_top

Given the controversial nature of this case and the numerous issues involved, an appeal is almost certain and appellate decision will help clarifythe law

TRUMP LAWYER CONTARDICTS SELF IN SAME INTERVEIW

I saw this on Fox News and could not believe my ears. However, it was as I thought.  Perhaps the tangle lies is starting to cause confusion on the Trump team.
"A member of Donald Trump’s personal legal team sent out to deny the president is under investigation, did just the opposite on “Fox News Sunday” — twice saying “he’s being investigated.”
Jay Sekulow made the remarks during a contentious back and forth with host Chris Wallace, one of a series of shows on which the attorney repeatedly insisted that Trump wasn’t under investigation by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Sekulow told Wallace that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey last month was “based on numerous events, including recommendations from his attorney general and the deputy attorney general’s office.”
“He takes the action that they also recommended and now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice. Because the special counsel, under the special counsel regulations, reports still to the Department of Justice, not an independent counsel,” Sekulow said.
“So, he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here.”
When Wallace noted that Sekulow had just admitted Trump was under investigation, Sekulow accused the host of trying to “re-phrase” his words — prompting Wallace to say “the tape will speak for itself.”
“I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth, when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation,” Sekulow shot back.
On Friday, Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
Sekulow told “Fox News Sunday” and three other shows that Trump’s tweet was based solely on a Washington Post report, and he insisted Trump wasn’t under investigation.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host John Dickerson asked Sekulow how he knew that.
“Because we’ve received no notice of investigation. There has been no notification from the special counsel’s office that the president is under investigation. In fact, to the contrary. What we know is what James Comey said, the last thing we know is when he testified just a couple weeks back. That the president was not and is not a target of investigation,” Sekulow answered.
Sekulow also said he “can’t imagine a scenario where the president would not be aware of it.”
But a former federal prosecutor, Brad Simon, told The Post those assertions were “somewhat fanciful.”
The feds “never formally advise someone they’re under investigation,” Simon said, adding: “It usually becomes apparent when they start issuing subpoenas.”
In some cases, Simon said, the feds will issue a “target letter” following a grand jury subpoena, usually when a defense lawyer is trying to decide whether to let a client testify.
“The fact that [Trump] hasn’t received a letter doesn’t mean he’s not the subject of an investigation,” he said.
“Letters are only issued upon request. That’s the  long-established practice of the Justice Department.”
http://nypost.com/2017/06/18/trumps-attorney-contradicts-himself-on-investigation-denial/

Thursday, June 15, 2017

OUTRAGEOUS ATTACK ON REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN

The other headline for today (besides Trump being under investigation for obstruction of justice--see below) was about the cowardly attack of a wacko left-wing on
Republican congressmen.
http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-shooting-reported-at-gop-baseball-1497442200-htmlstory.html 
Political violence, by both sides, in this country is becoming a crisis. The echo chambers, political and religious hatreds. and toxic, polarizing politics are now bearing their bitter fruit.  This has created a feeling of solidarity among congressmen for now. Le'ts hope it lasts.  Don't bet on it.  The investigation of Trump will stoke up the fires to even new levels. Hatred of  Muslims seems to be growing.   God help America.

As expected, TRUMP BEING INVESTIGATED FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

Reality laid a cold, hard slap to the face of Trumpistas a day ago.
http://www.dailywire.com/news/17552/report-trump-being-investigated-obstruction-amanda-prestigiacomo

  It reminds me of the Benjamin Franklin  saying, 'experience (reality) keep a dear school-- but fools will learn in no other.'
When the Trump's Justice department appointed a man of integrity and political independence as Special Prosecutor (no doubt with Trump's approval), many could see that this day would eventually arrive. The President (and perhaps others on his staff) is/are under investigation for obstruction of justice for his dealings with former FBI Director Comey and perhaps others officials.  Anyone who knows anything about criminal law, criminal procedure, etc. knows there is probable cause to believe that Trump violated the law.  Sessions confirmed part of Comey's account.  The mystery tapes, if the exist, could clear Trump.  Yet, no one in the White House will confirm of deny if they exist.  Does this sound like the actions of a totally innocent suspect?  If there are tapes that support Trump, why not release them?  The logical conclusion is that either there are no tapes or the tapes prove Comey is right. The special prosecutor can get them, and there is no executive privilege in criminal cases for Trump's toadies to hide behind. Some Republicans are already talking about getting rid of the Special Prosecutor. 
Will history repeat itself (e.g. Watergate)?  The truth will eventually come out about  Trump cronies and even persons even appointed by Trump being involved in negotiation with the Russians regarding the election.  Flynn and Sessions have already lied about the issue.  When politicians are involved, whether on the right or left, 'where there's smoke, there's almost always fire.'

Some Trumpistas will  respond with their dumb comebacks (e.g Hillary Clinton would be worse).  The dumbest excuses seem to admit that Trump did it but should be excused because he was a 'rookie,' or 'political novice.'  Ignorance of the law is not a valid legal excuse.  Stupidity and lack of ethical sense is not an excuse.  If a rookie cop took a bribe would we excuse him because he is a naive rookie and doesn't remember anything from the policy academy about ethics and bribery?  If Trump weren't President, a grand jury would be convening to investigate.  This is what happens to lower level political crooks. Anyone who knows anything about the law of criminal evidence knows that   Trump's behavior in trying to buddy up with Comey and his telling all others at  the meeting to leave is evidence of criminal intent or knowledge of guilt.
 Some sycophants will retreat even further into their irrational, delusional, echo chambers.  Some will finally come to their senses and be glad the investigation has finally started.  Although it is probably a long shot,  there may have been no criminal or ethical violations.  That's why all should welcome the investigation.  At this point the evidentiary cards are stacked heavily against Trump,  but I could be wrong and applaud the Special Prosecutor.
This who situation is a sad and serious crisis for America.  We need the truth to get past this.  This topic will dominate the news for months.  Look back at Watergate and Nixon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TRUMP'S CHAOTIC FOREIGN POLICY



 American foreign policy changes every time Trump tweets of gives a speech.  How do you negotiate with a national leader who is part chameleon, part eel and part confused teenager.  Europe cannot trust him.
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/19/trump-first-foreign-trip-europe-215163

 The Western alliance against Trump's buddy Putin is in danger.  I wouldn't want to live in Eastern Europe while Trump in Prez.  People in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia better need to start preparing for guerilla warfare if the on-again off-again bromance between Trump and Putin doesn't end once and for all.

“Trump National Security Team Blindsided by NATO Speech

"They thought the president would commit to the principle of collective defense. They were wrong.”

He apparently later changed his mind.  A few months ago he called NATO "obsolete."

 

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/05/trump-nato-speech-national-security-team-215227

Trump sent his Secretary of State to the Middle East to try to patch up things between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.  The largest U.S military base in the Middle East in in Qatar and we have long had good relations with the Saudis.  Then, Trump blast the Qataris.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/world/middleeast/rex-tillerson-calls-for-calm-in-middle-east-standoff-with-qatar.html?_r=0

 

 

 

SESSIONS TO TESTIFY, LIES LIKELY, JUST AS WITH TRUMP

I have been following Presidential politics since LBJ. I have never seen a President and his staff that has played so fast and loose with the facts.  They are an embarrassment and disgrace.  America is the laughing stock of Western Europe--our closest and most valuable allies.
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/19/trump-first-foreign-trip-europe-215163

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be testifying before a Senate Commitee shortly.  He has lied before, and gave a B.S. explanation for the 'discrepancy'.  I guess his excuse is "I was too dumb to understand the question." Hey, Sessions is entitled to his own 'alternative facts."  In unfortunately, he is also the federal government's law enforcement officer. The consequences for the rule of law could be tragic.

 Trump is a chronic liar.  Check out a reputable fact check website (see below), think about what is said and analyze it.  Trump won the factcheck.org
King of Whoppers award for 2015 and 2016.  He beat out Hillary Clinton by a big margin.
http://www.factcheck.org/2016/12/the-whoppers-of-2016/

A year ago, we broke with past practice and named Donald Trump our first ever “King of Whoppers.” This year, the reigning champ defended his title well – once again dominating our annual review of political whoppers.
At his campaign rallies, Trump regularly disparaged the media as “dishonest,” referring at one point to fact-checkers as “dishonest scum.” Yet, he peddled conspiracy theories from a supermarket tabloid and a website that serves as a platform for the alt-right.
The Republican president-elect used a thinly sourced story from the National Enquirer to make the baseless claim that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father “was with Lee Harvey Oswald” prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination — a claim he doubled down on after Cruz already had dropped out of the presidential primary. Trump also cited Breitbart as evidence that he was “right” when he suggested that President Obama supported terrorists. No, Trump wasn’t right.
During the campaign, Trump also made the wild accusation that Obama “is the founder of ISIS,” the terrorist group based in Syria and Iraq, and retweeted a fake image of Fox News host Megyn Kelly that purported to show her posing with Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.
Of course, we wrote about plenty of others who distorted the facts and made false claims in 2016. After all, it was the year when the facts caught up with Hillary Clinton’s numerous false and distorted claims regarding her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Contrary to what she said, Clinton did have classified material on her server and did not have government approval to use a private server because she never requested it.
Even so, Trump is in a league of his own."  Note that they called Hillary on the carpet.
Check out he website for a complete analysis.


He will probably win again this year.
Sean Spicer said Hitler never used poison gas as a weapon.  The list of Trump and Trump administration B.S. is endless.

"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Attorney General Jeff Sessions “lied under oath” when he said he “did not have communications with the Russians” during the presidential campaign. She has called on him to resign.
Sessions says that, in context, his responses as part of the Senate confirmation process were “honest and correct as I understood it at the time.” He acknowledged that he should have told the Senate that he “did meet one Russian official a couple of times,” but he said any claims that he gave a false answer are “not correct.”

Please don't respond by saying that he's a better AG than Hillary would have appointed.  Every time I try to talk to a Trump supporter about issues that make Trump look bad, they respond, that "he's better than Hillary." Obviously, a lot of people don't want to address issues and come up with B.S. responses that do not address the issues.  Brain damage, thick skull or ideological blinders? These folks need to start addressing and facing facts.  Get out of the delusional world.  Get over the bromance, hero worship, or whatever it is and get real.
Time to abandon post truth, alternative facts. etc.

Please consider the following:

POST TRUTH AND CRITICAL THINKING

“I’m sorry, Jeannie, your answer was correct, but Kevin shouted his incorrect answer over yours, so he gets the points,” says the quiz master to a group of participants, in a cartoon with the caption “Facts don’t matter.” The cartoon gives a clear picture of the post-truth and surreal world. Oxford Dictionaries (OD) announced post-truth as its 2016 International Word of the Year. Post-truth “relates to or denotes circumstances in which objective facts [truth] are less influential in shaping public opinion than

[1]appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

[2] the intense admiration or affection  (or the opposites)for the speaker can also overrule the truth]  Post-truth also applies to  making sweeping claims about objective reality without any, or any substantial .evidence.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-truth_politics

 In the post-truth and surreal era, we are constantly bombarded with messages that can be labeled as “half-truth” or “no-truth.” Propagandists speak in such a way that the targeted people believe and accept disinformation as information. They are successful in their mission as they are convinced that the audiences can be persuaded, manipulated and deceived. Lies that are told in a convincing way are treated as truth and result in shaping public opinion. Lies coupled with emotional appeals win the hearts of the weak who do not know how to differentiate between falsehood and truth, information and disinformation, honesty and dishonesty. We live in a world where deceit, disinformation, distortion, falsehood and fiction try to have victory over information and truth. In the post-truth era, certain lies are considered too benign to be treated as lies.” See book mentioned here (optional) Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era https://www.amazon.com/Weaponized-Lies-Think-Critically-Post-Truth/dp/1101983825

FAKE NEWS, AN ELEMENT OF POST-TRUTH  THINKING

This term has two meanings.  1.  Present something as ‘news’ that has no factual basis, and

2.  Labelling news that we don’t like as ‘fake news’ without checking it, so we don’t’have to consider it.

Below is an example of the effects of the first type of ‘fake news.

For 45 minutes, police said, Edgar Maddison Welch, cradling an AR-15 assault-style rifle, roamed the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant looking to prove an Internet conspiracy theory that the popular D.C. restaurant harbored juvenile sex slaves.

The few patrons had fled before Welch shot off the lock to an inside door, sending a bullet into a computer tower. The North Carolina man then turned the gun on an employee who emerged from the back holding pizza dough. The worker ran out, unharmed.

With D.C. police amassing outside on Sunday afternoon, Welch finally walked out with his hands up — but not before he finished his search.

He had come to rescue the children, court papers say he later told police, and now was convinced that none was being harmed there.”

“Family and friends said they are struggling to understand how Welch apparently became so fixated on a fake news story that he drove from North Carolina with a Colt long rifle, a .38-caliber revolver and a shotgun, determined to take action. The viral Internet tale, which emerged shortly before the presidential election, falsely linked Hillary Clinton, her campaign chairman and the owner of Comet to the alleged sex-slave conspiracy.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/alleged-gunman-tells-police-he-wanted-to-rescue-children-at-dc-pizza-shop-after-hearing-fictional-internet-accounts/2016/12/05/cb5ebabc-bae8-11e6-ac85-094a21c44abc_story.html?utm_term=.eab34e5cbe5d

Some insight is given by this answer to a question put to Pres. Trump:Mr. Trump wanted his inauguration crowd to be the biggest ever, so in his mind it was, no matter what was plainly obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes.”

Most press accounts and much of the debate have understandably focused on the president’s false and often childishly fantastic “alternative facts.” But the greater hazard to his presidency, and the country, is the other dynamic in his hostile relationship with the truth: his refusal to take contrary facts in — to compare the ego-stroking view from the Capitol steps to the more revealing aerial photos.

Consider his response to ABC’s David Muir, who challenged him to back up his repeated, and repeatedly debunked, claim that millions of people voted illegally — which he insists is the reason he lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. Rather than admitting he had no evidence, Mr. Trump said: “You know what’s important? Millions of people agree with me when I say that.” In other words, facts aren’t important; blind trust in a leader is.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/opinion/sunday/can-donald-trump-handle-the-truth.html?_r=0

ANOTHER ELEMENT OF THE POST-TRUTH SYNDROME IS THE IDEA OF ‘ALTERNATIVE FACTS.

"Alternative facts" is a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statement about the attendance at Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Spicer "utter[ed] a provable falsehood", Conway stated that Spicer was giving "alternative facts." Todd responded, "

Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts" to describe what are demonstrably falsehoods was widely mocked on social media and sharply criticized by journalists and media organizations, such as Dan Rather, Jill Abramson, and the Public Relations Society of America

Alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.  Choosing to desregard ‘facts’ (or substantial, credible evidence to the contrary, or the lack thereof instead of a rational conclusion based on evidence) are examples.  See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_facts

ONE SOLUTION

Critical think is even more crucial in the  post-fact age. What to do? Use fact check websites.  Open and print this link for 6 of the best.

http://www.technorms.com/454/get-your-facts-right-6-fact-checking-websites-that-help-you-know-the-truth

 

 




Friday, June 09, 2017

TRUMP AND CIVIL LIBERTIES


Donald Trump is a serious threat to the civil liberties of Americans.  I doubt he has ever read our constitution.  Trump is specifically a threat to due process of law and equal protection of the law.  Although he denies being anti-black and anti-Muslim, his policies, statements and the court rulings against his policies suggest otherwise (as will be discussed in this blog later).
See the links at
https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS737US737&q=TRUMP+AND+RACISM&gws_rd=ssl

  His over-the top rantings on the media should give.  He has called the media “the enemy of the people.”  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/24/donald-trump-cpac-media-enemy-of-the-people/98347970/

This was also Richard Nixon’s attitude toward the media whose reporting ultimately lead to his resignation.

Most of his executive orders regarding immigration have been found unconstitutional by the courts.   The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear one of these cases next year.

He seems to be a strong supporter of freedom of religion and the Second Amendment. Like many of the far-right the support for freedom of religion is for the ‘evangelical’ version only and only when that can be used as a tool to try to block gay marriage, discrimination against LGBT’s.

He has proposed or done nothing to support Second Amendment freedoms  Talk is cheap.. Where is his bill to enact federal nationwide concealed carry license reciprocity? Former Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell (who served prison time) said “Watch what we do, not what we say.  http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/14/opinion/essay-watch-what-we-do.html

 

The ACLU present an analysis of Trump’s policy positions and labels him a “One-Man Constitutional Crisis.”  https://www.aclu.org/report/trump-memos

See the ACLU website for updates

Trump from a libertarian perspective (Reason Magazine blog)



 

4 UNBELIEVABLE ITEMS FROM TEXAS


Here’s 4 items regarding how government and politics often do not work in Texas.

1.  The Dallas Police and Fire Pension system is seriously failing due to the managing board’s reckless, unprofessional and possibly bribe-induced investments in real estate, esp.  in Idaho, of all places.  The feds are investigating.  The state has approved a partial bailout, but city taxpayers will end up paying huge amounts and benefits will be cut.  The City finally wrested control from the pension board (which included fire and police personnel).  Before the city took over, the board agreed to a full-year salary as severance benefits to 3 top fund officials if they lost their jobs. They wrecked the pension fund and now the 3 will get a total of almost $900,000 from a fund that is basically bankrupt.  Are you kidding me? Let’s hope the feds get justice for the city and the police and firefighters in the end.


2.  Texas has been in a continuing legal fight with the federal courts over its disgraceful treatment of neglected and abused children taken into state custody.  Many children had to sleep-over at Department offices.  In one incident two girls ran away from an office and one was killed.  The state supposedly made emergency moves to fix the problem and the legislature appropriated money to fix the problem.  Yet, sleep-overs and going up, not down.  Go figure!  This situation and similar lack of concern for the unfortunate,(almost always humans  without money and political support, and/ or, “unpopular” minorities to white, traditional, Christian supremacists) shows that when ideology and money talks, ethics and human values walk.


3.  Here’s another unbelievable story from Dallas County regarding letting groups of juvenile sex offenders sleep together unsupervised on the floor in a large room.  I don’t have to tell you what happened.


4.  Time does not allow for full exposition of the insanity, chaos, pushing and shoving and threats that accompanied the latest TX legislative session, the failure complete their business on time, and the calling of a special session to deal with, among other things, Texas’ ludicrous bathroom bill.  This is what happens what a hard-core group of ideologues take a ‘full-speed ahead, damn the torpedoes” attitude.  What a joke and embarrassment.  With billions of dollars in the budgets, millions of residents, and pressing problems, the Texas legislature only meets every other year. At the end of regular sessions there is a mad rush to pass bills that many members have not read and are poorly worded and thought out.  The latest word is that the far-right ideologue Lt. Governor who heads the Senate deliberately sabotaged the finish of the regular session so that there would be a special session where some of his pet bills that did not pass (e.g. bathroom bill) would have to be heard and possibly pass because legislators are worn out, tired and want to get back to work and home.  Search the Dallas Morning News or google the topics. 

ALL those involved in these 4 events should be ashamed and taxpayers and voters should be “mad as hell.”  Where do they find these people?  Unfortunately too many voters and taxpayers cannot escape from their echo chambers or smart phones to care.