Republican Issues

I see that Doctor KnowItAll is in the neighborhood. Pardon me, Doctor KnowItAll, can you answer a question for me?
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
Does Mitch McConnell feel the slightest pang of hypocrisy when he says congress must do its constitutional duty and take up a nomination to replace Justice Kennedy as soon as possible, when two years ago he denied that same “duty” regarding the nominee to replace Justice Scalia, thus keeping a court seat empty for over a year?
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
Do you think the only way many Republicans feel they can win is to lie, cheat, and demonize the opposition?
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
Why is America, still the wealthiest nation, unable to reduce the growth in poverty, homelessness, prison populations, mass murders, and infant mortality, while funneling enormous resources to the already wealthy?
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
In America, where businesses are expected to compete in an open market, why do the federal and state governments funnel tons of taxpayer money to enormously wealthy corporations, many of which are multi-national and which owe allegiance to shareholders, not the taxpayers?
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
Should I stop asking you questions?
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
One more question, Doctor KnowItAll. Will the US attorney general’s policy of “zero tolerance” and “rule of law” also be used to investigate:
. Illegal use of government funds and conflicts of interest by Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, among others.
. Illegal use of nonprofit funds by the president.
. Lawmakers benefitting from lobbyist-paid events, then reciprocating the favors.
Dr KIA: I don’t know.
Well, do you think you might change your name to Doctor KnowNothing?
Dr KIA: I don’t know, maybe.

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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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New Social Media

Troll armies.
ID theft.
Cyber warfare.
Fake news.
Fake phone calls.
Fake ads.
Legitimate ads but tons of them on TV, billboards, radio, everything on the internet, popping up, crawling over what we want to see.

Everywhere we go we’re in a sea of words, maybe 1/3 of them informational, the rest are flinging tons of outrageous stuff at us every time we want to check our email or chat with friends, trying to sell us something.

How about a new no-ads no-crap-heap-dodging social media:

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NYTimes: Native American Secrets Lie Buried in Huge Shell Mounds

Native American Secrets Lie Buried in Huge Shell Mounds https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/science/native-americans-shell-middens-maine.html

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“Republicans” Lie, Cheat, and Sabotage

The current pack of “Republicans” get most of what they want done by
lying, cheating, and sabotage. Walker and Trump are racking up about a
lie a day or more, with congressional “Republicans” nodding away. They
cheat with things like gerrymandering and voter ID laws. And when they
find they don’t have the power to repeal the ACA, they sabotage it by
holding up subsidy payments to insurance companies and relying on their
old standby – lies. I’m not talking about conservatives here; these guys
are not conservatives – not since the Tea Party and then Trump’s merry
band took over. They should have started their own party and stood up
alongside the Republicans and Democrats.

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Second Amendment Has Become an Excuse for Inaction on Gun Violence

Archaic confusing language. Rarely interpreted in context of “well regulated militia”. Says “arms”, not “guns”. Says right to “bear arms”, not “buy guns”. Guns are a product manufactured by profit-making companies. Not a fundamental human right, not like freedom of speech and religion and assembly, which people DO, not BUY. Don’t ban them, but treat guns like any other product with safety issues – regulate them. And get them out of the Constitution.

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Our Gradually Diminishing Planet

There won’t be a day when full reckoning of the damage we are doing to our planet will occur. This will, instead, happen very gradually, so after 30 years, perhaps 50 or 100 or 150, we will have accepted as normal:

  • The abandonment of our coastal cities and communities to the rising oceans.
  • The abandonment of equatorial and sub-tropic civilization because of intolerable heat.
  • The pollution of arctic and antarctic wildernesses in our unquestioning quest to dig out their resources to support our profligate lifestyle.
  • The deaths of fisheries, lobster fields, coral beds, even the largest creatures that ever lived – the whales, due to warming, poisoned oceans, plastic islands, and algae blooms extending thousands of miles from shorelines.
  • The deaths of rain forests and the vast multitudes of life that live in and on them.
  • And, with a fatalistic shrug of our collective shoulders, turning over our mighty river systems – the Missouri, the Mississippi, the Ohio, the Snake – to mighty sewage channels, where no one will live or build within 100 miles of the banks.

And so, because these changes occur gradually over time, we will not attempt to hold any person or any business or any self-blinded politician to blame. We will just learn to live with a planet diminished in its capacity to support our increasingly greedy civilization.

Unless, before all that happens, in nationalistic fervors we manage to create a nuclear war so devastating that we may as well stop thinking about any possibility of a decent planet to live on.

We share this planet with billions of creatures. If we destroy our planet, they go down with us. And humanity itself will be the greatest crime ever perpetrated.

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