Mueller Report

The Mueller Report, even redacted, shows the president and his campaign actively sought Russian help in electing him. Not enough evidence of a crime doesn’t matter when you see their intent, which would be a severe blow to American democracy, whether carried through or not.

The report also verifies what all Americans and the world have seen for two years – the president endlessly berating the investigation and the people involved and threatening to shut it down. Anyone can see that this was intended to be strong interference with the investigation. Again, Mueller could not charge him or the campaign with obstruction of justice, only due to constitutional and judicial restrictions regarding the presidency.

I would love to see the report accepted and put behind us, to get on with the government’s work. However, the president, instead of just laying low for two years and letting the investigation churn through to completion, sparing us endless turmoil, decided to constantly comment and keep the ongoings in the news. This demands a further look into his conduct.

Republicans in general appear to want to just let this slide into the dustbin of history. But I know, from everything I’ve seen until now, that if it was a Democratic president, Republicans would be calling for his head.
We need to support a further look into the president’s actions. This can be done with minimal interference with the functioning of our government, if only we let it.
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Anti-Semitism

Regarding the recent controversy over “anti-semitic” remarks by a politician.

Apparently, the term “anti-semitism” is used only to refer to Jews:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism

Even though “semite” means any group speaking or spoke semitic languages, including Arabs, Jews, Mandaeans, Samaritans, and ancient Assyrians/Syriacs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Semitic-speaking_peoples

Wouldn’t it be more clear if “anti-semite” was replaced with “anti-Jew”?

Then the “controversy” would disappear. The comments were made regarding the state of Israel, not Jews. There are non-Jews in Israel, and there are plenty of Jews outside of Israel. It would be more honest if, instead of calling her remarks “anti-semitic” they were called “anti-Israel policies”.

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Recall Ron Johnson

Recall Ron Johnson? The man is willing to let his oath to support the constitution slide this once, because he thinks border security is an overriding issue. This is just as bad as Trump claiming border security is enough to justify usurping congress’s powers. According to his web site, Johnson is willing to “deal with the issue of reclaiming congressional authority under the National Emergencies Act in my committee in the very near future.” Yeah, after the horse is out of the barn for every presidential whim from now on.

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Ron Johnson quotes on Trump’s Wall

2016-0901 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/09/01/johnson-allies-hit-feingold-security/89717596/:

“You are going to need better fencing in certain areas. I don’t think we need a 1,700-mile wall, but we can utilize technology. We probably need more boots on the ground.”

—-
2016-1209 Washington Examiner
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/senator-the-wall-will-be-built-not-that-expensive-shovel-ready-works:

“In terms of federal spending, it’s not going to be that expensive and if President Trump when he becomes president is talking about an infrastructure program, well this would be a shovel ready project.”

—-
2017-0125 Fox News
https://radio.foxnews.com/2017/01/25/senator-ron-johnson-on-the-border-wall-we-finally-have-a-president-committed-to-securing-the-border/:

“It’s what we had to do. There is no doubt about it. We just had a hearing about a month ago where we had the chief of Border Patrol and the deputy chief of border patrol and I just asked them point blank, do we have enough fencing, no. does fencing work, yes. Should we build more, yes. Fencing actually works. Now you have to worry about tunnels and other situations on our southern border…but we have to secure our border, that’s what this President ran on and personally glad to see he is starting to work on it right away… we have never committed on a bi-partisan fashion to secure our border, we finally have a president committed to doing so we are starting to move on it.”

—-
2017-0203 CNN
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1702/03/nday.03.html:

CUOMO: You were in Israel. You say there’s a lesson about wall and border security that you learned there that we need to take back here.

JOHNSON: Israel was being, you know, had a real problem with illegal immigrants coming in from the southern border, about 16,000 in one year.

In two years, they constructed 143-mile fence, about $2.9 million per mile, and it cut that illegal immigration rate from about 16,000 to I think 18. Cut it by 99 percent.

Fencing walls work. And so we need to learn the lessons from Israel. They are under a constant state of threat. Threat of terrorism. They’ve dealt with it pretty effectively. We need to learn those lessons.

CUOMO: Do you think it was just the wall that they put up, or do you think it was all the attendant changes they made into screening and their opportunities that they provided for people who were coming across to try to limit the need to sneak in?

JOHNSON: Well, on the southern border it was the fence. Within the whole of Israel, they’ve done all kinds of things in terms of security, cyber security, at their airports, all kinds of different layered security measures. We need to do the same thing here.

But fencing and walls work, particularly when they’re constructed in the right areas and in the right way.

—-
2017-0308 Hugh Hewitt
http://www.hughhewitt.com/senator-ron-johnson-ciaspill-ahca-border-wall/:

HH: And in Homeland Security, you’re working with Secretary Kelly, obviously. Mick Mulvaney told me the cost of the wall is between $8 and $24 million dollars per mile. Do you still support the construction of the wall, Ron Johnson?

RJ: Well again, I was in Israel, and they put up their fence, a pretty effective fence, for $2.9 million dollars. So you know, again, you’ve got to buy the land. There are additional costs involved in that, but I’d be happy to talk with OMB Director Mulvaney and see what his cost calculations are versus the Israelis.

HH: Yeah, it just seemed to me out of nowhere to come up with that kind of a number, and you’re a businessman. It just seemed to me to be crazy.

RJ: Well, again, President Trump was in the construction business. I’ve got a feeling he’s got a good way to negotiate a good deal on construction. So hopefully, that’s the case.

—-
2017-0406 The Washington Times
https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/6/ron-johnson-border-wall-metaphor-border-security/:

“I have always thought the wall was a metaphor for securing the border, and I think it has just been incredibly important that this president, finally we have an administration that has committed themselves to securing the border in whatever shape and form that takes.”

“Yes, we do need better barriers, we need better fencing, we have had border patrol deputies and chiefs tell us fencing works we need more of it, but I think we are going to do this in a thoughtful manner.”

—-
2017-0803 The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/group-of-gop-senators-unveil-their-answer-to-trumps-border-wall/2017/08/03/4469a22e-787a-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.758b68ada8b7:

[Johnson signed on to Cornyn’s bill authorizing $15 billion over 4 years for border security infrstructure including a potential wall system …]

—-
2018-0730 Face the Nation
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-sen-ron-johnson-on-face-the-nation-july-29-2018/:

MARGARET BRENNAN: – … Should we expect a September shutdown?

SEN JOHNSON: Let’s hope not. I think hopefully most of the appropriation bills will actually be passed a little more-a little better prioritization of spending. So I certainly don’t like playing shut down politics.

—-
2018-1126 Washington Examiner
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/congress/senate-gop-scrambling-to-find-5b-for-trumps-border-wall:

“It’s one of the things we have to do. We need better barriers. Where we have a really good border wall, it actually works. But we need to fix all of it.”

—-
2019-0109 Jay Weber (Wisconsin State Journal)
https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/ron-johnson-backs-border-wall-funding-for-essential-government-functions/article_0c93fa1a-76d7-5b95-a3cf-70107fa8a951.html:

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in an interview Wednesday with conservative radio host Jay Weber, said he supports the president’s request for a wall, and called Democrats hypocritical for opposing it while minimizing the issue of border security.

“If there was one thing that President Trump ran on, it was securing our border, keeping this nation safe, building a wall,” Johnson said. “We have no idea who’s coming across our porous southern border.”

He also urged Republicans to begin funding essential functions of the federal government, such as the Coast Guard and USDA food inspector positions. Johnson said he recently co-sponsored legislation that would ensure Coast Guard officials are paid.

Johnson has previously expressed support for extending the border wall. On Wednesday he argued that strengthening the barrier would help discourage migrants, many of them asylum seekers, from attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. He noted such migrants face hurdles on their journey, such as sexual assault.

“We’re incentivizing people taking those types of risks. That is not humane treatment,” he said.

Johnson has also critiqued the entire U.S. immigration system, pointing to the length of the adjudication and appeals process, along with the backlog of immigration cases, as essentially encouraging people to immigrate illegally.

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Ford/Kavanaugh Hearing

What I saw/heard at the Ford/Kavanaugh hearing on September 27 was a sharp contrast – Dr Ford quietly but steadily presenting her case and answering questions about the event in question; and Judge Kavanaugh on passionate edge defiantly defending against what he saw as extreme partisanship in the process of his nomination and a giant conspiracy by Democrats against him.

Afterward, Republicans seem to have lined themselves up with a single narrative: (1) Sympathy for Dr Ford and her very traumatic experience 36 years ago, but no proof that Kavanaugh was the cause. (2) Continuing strong support for Judge Kavanaugh’s defense, despite no way to corroborate his professed innocence, and (echoing Kavanaugh) blaming extreme partisanship and a giant conspiracy by Democrats to keep a well-qualified, decent man from taking a seat on the court for the next 3 or 4 decades.

First, Republicans are intentionally blinding themselves to the fact that only 2 parties were interviewed, so this was a classic example of she said/he said, and proof one way or the other is lacking. Such is the nature of yesterday’s “investigation”. A full investigation would include others involved directly or indirectly – notably Mark Judge and the 2 other women who have accused him, in addition to others (other party attendees, etc). But Republicans are determined to get this man in NOW. Are they afraid of what an investigation might reveal? They seem oblivious to the possibility that the man really did commit that crime and now continues to lie about it – in which case we would have a criminal and a liar on the highest court in the land. If, on the other hand, a real investigation showed Dr Ford to be mistaken (maybe it was some other guy), then Kavanaugh would be exonerated and take that seat without a blemish on his record; why wouldn’t they want that?

Second, when Republicans rail against the Democratic “conspiracy” (Lindsey are you listening?), they conveniently forget their own actions when they conspired to prevent President Obama’s well-qualified nomination from ever being considered.

Like most people, I do believe Dr Ford’s account. But, despite her assurances that she is 100% sure the perpetrator was Kavanaugh, the small possibility that she mistook him for someone else still niggles at me. To clear up this doubt, people on both sides should be demanding an investigation more thorough than just an accuser and a defendant stating their stories.

In the aftermath, I come to the strong feeling that whether he did this or not, Kavanaugh is unsuited for this appointment because of the extreme partisanship expressed in his shrill statements and answers yesterday. If he is convinced of a Democratic conspiracy out to get him (without a burden of proof of conspiracy), how can he be an impartial judge when a liberal or Democrat appeals to the court in the future? The man is biased, if nothing else.

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Time for a Few Theses?

Time for Catholics to abandon their corrupt church and build a new one? Do we have a volunteer to nail some theses to the Vatican wall?

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The Real Problem?

One of those Facebook posts that is only an image containing text:

THE PROBLEM IS NOT GUNS
IT’S HEARTS WITHOUT GOD
HOMES WITHOUT DISCIPLINE
SCHOOLS WITHOUT PRAYER AND
COURTS WITHOUT JUSTICE

Implying that instead of focusing on controlling guns, we should get right with God and justice and teach proper values in the homes, and the problem will go away.

Let’s take this logic to our North Korea problem:

THE PROBLEM IS NOT NUCLEAR BOMBS
IT’S ATHEISM
COMMUNISM
DICTATORSHIPS AND
ANTI-DEMOCRACY GOVERNMENTS

So instead of getting Kim to give up his nuclear arms, we should focus on setting him and his country straight on religion and politics and justice, and the problem will go away.

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Students marching for gun control

Students marching because they are upset about America’s gun policies have been belittled and even attacked, often with the statement “Marching won’t make any difference; staying in school will.” Indeed, they might not make a difference – yet.

That is what was said at the beginnings and middles of all the major social-change movements in our nation’s history – abolition of slavery, women’s rights, the right to organize in the workplace, civil rights, the Vietnam War, gay rights. All these movements took years to have effect, but then, because of the persistence and vigor of the protagonists, the effect was enormous, resulting in long-overdue profound shifts in the nation’s attitudes toward these issues.

These students are looking at this issue with fresh eyes, wondering why adults all around them have been unable to right an obvious wrong. Certainly, the passions of youth, still picking through their place in a world that has existed for millenia before them, will mellow with time. But they have lit a light that others will follow, and patience and persistence may result in another shift in the nation’s attitude toward this issue. Following Martin Luther King, who advocated patience and persistence with “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

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America’s Contemporary Sin

Slavery has often been called “America’s original sin” because the gridlock on the issue at the establishment of our nation did not address it and great suffering continued. I propose that the Second Amendment to the Constitution has become America’s contemporary sin because the gridlock on this issue does not allow us to properly address it and great suffering follows.

The Second Amendment is a single sentence. Lost in almost all arguments on both sides are the first two clauses regarding “A well regulated Militia” and “security of a free State”.

Second, the last clause uses the term “bear arms” without defining “arms”. Did the authors really intend to include any and all possible weaponry as arms to be protected? Modern military weaponry? Hand grenades? Smoke bombs? Suitcase nukes?

Third, the wording, with those weirdly placed commas, has always been troublesome. Just about everybody can recite the last clause: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Despite the insertion of a comma that just muddies the issue.

But who can remember for an hour what the first two clauses say: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,”? Being confusing when attached to the last clause, it makes it difficult to recall the wording.

A well formed sentence, being necessary to understand the issue, the right of the people to a new amendment, shall not be infringed.

Understandable? Maybe not. Let’s try:

Because the Second Amendment wording is far from clear, and confusing, and because the Supreme Court has not adequately interpreted it, the Congress shall review the wording and study what the people think should be the intent of such an amendment and propose either revoking it or amending it to read in such a manner that it is abundantly clear in its intent.

Seems reasonable to me. But I shudder to think what the current Congress would do with such a proposal. Between the lobbyists and the no-compromise positions of citizens on both sides, either an ungodly mess or complete stalemate would result.

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Dump the Johnson Amendment?

I don’t think so. For tax exempt nonprofit groups, this is the deal you made with the nation’s taxpayers: Taxpayers will pay a bit more in taxes so your group does not have to pay (tax exempt). And your group does not use its position to promote political candidates. This is not a free speech issue. You don’t pay me for my political views. If your tax exempt group is now allowed to promote candidates, it amounts to taxpayers like me paying for the promotion of your political views.

This is NOT preventing religious people from speaking from the pulpit or soliciting political donations. If they want to promote politicians, they do not get to make me pay for that. They can give up their tax exemption and then they can speak politically all they want.

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