Precedent

Based on President Trump’s demand that he does not need to answer any subpoenas until certain conditions–such as a vote of the entire House of Representatives–are met, may I present this scenario:

Judge: “Mr. Johnson, do you have an attorney?”

Johnson: (tweeting) I don’t need an attorney. I will represent myself.

Bailiff: confiscates cell phone.

Judge: “If we may continue, Mr. Johnson you are charged with . . . .”

Johnson: “This is a political fiasco and I won’t  provide any information until the entire police department votes unanimously to charge me!”

Judge: “Mr. Johnson, with all due respect to Fox News (if any is, in fact, due) the accused is not the one who gets to set terms. The rules are already in place and you are expected to comply with them.”

Johnson: “This is a witch hunt! TERRIBLE! I’m being harassed! It’s all based on fake news! SAD!”

Judge: “Bailiff, given that Mr. Johnson is not President of the United States, would you please take Mr. Johnson into custody until he either is represented by an attorney or is prepared to present an appropriate legal defense.”

Bailiff: Half guides and half carries Johnson out. Johnson is still screaming.

Johnson: “I demand my phone! It’s my constitutional right to tweet! This is a travesty! (sound of his voice fades out)

Judge: Puts head in hands, brushes her hair back, and takes a deep breath. “Bailiff, to save me from calling a recess, do you have any acetaminophen?”

Bailiff: “Yes, your honor. Every day, your honor.” Passes a bottle of generic acetaminophen to the judge, who shakes two into her hand and with her bottle of water, swallows them.

Judge: Handing the bottle back to the bailiff, “Thank you. Please remind me to buy a large economy size bottle to keep here on my bench.”

Bailiff: nods

Judge: Sighs. “Okay, let’s move on to the next case.”

Bailiff: “Your honor, the next defendant is represented by Rudy Giuliani.”

Judge: Groans

Electoral College

Your democratic republic is confusing to me. I’ve seen many approaches to representative government–it’s far more difficult than autocratic forms of government, but “the consent of the governed” makes for a powerful nation-state.

In America’s case, one of the most interesting and challenging ideas is the Electoral College. Initially, as far as I can tell, the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that less populated states would still have representation.

The emphasis then was united STATES–the states were not provinces, but actual nation-states. This idea, unfortunately,  contributed to the Civil War since the Southern States believed that as nation-states they were sovereign and free to choose to stay in or leave the Union.

After the Union victory, the prevailing attitude became that it was one nation.

Therein lies the problem.

When Americans vote, do they vote as members of one country or as members of semi-sovereign local states? Is the president the leader of one nation, or fifty semi-autonomous pseudo nation-states?

If one nation, the Electoral College is unnecessary. If fifty semi-autonomous, semi-sovereign states, the Electoral College makes sense.

I’m confused, because from my perspective, it is a single nation.

Hopefully someone will explain this all to me.

Centuries upon Centuries

I’ve spoken. I’ve written. I’ve done what you would call “performance art.” All this has taken centuries.

Let me put that in perspective. Your father’s birth to your death might be around a century. Now multiply that by 20 or 30. Got it? Good.

I resorted to walking around in daylight carrying a lighted lamp claiming to be looking for an honest man. THAT is how desperate I was and am for exposing the truth. However, sooner or later, when one is not successful, it is wise to give up and seek another course.

I’ve been writing here (wherever here is) for over a year. Being dead, I do not have Twitter, Facebook, or whatever, nor do I want them. I have always fallen victim to the belief that people would seek the truth; if I were a video game, that might be true.

Bottom Line: If you want me to keep writing, do what you can to get others to follow this blog. If there aren’t sufficient people interested in what I have to say by the Autumn Equinox, I will cease writing and take my efforts elsewhere.

If few respond, then I must believe that people prefer the sensational and inconsequential to the truth.

The ball–as you say–is in your court. I’ll be napping in my sewer (look it up if you don’t believe me).

Cuccinelli Owes Me Royalties

Bot too long ago, I wrote a sarcastic parody about the Statue of Liberty, suggesting that it no longer stood for the ideals it once did. I never suspected that one of the members of the White House Theatrical Society, which includes all the “acting” federal officials, would steal my idea without at least attributing the source.

Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services has decided that immigration should only be available to those who can stand “on their own two feet.”

Of course, that was the standard when thousands of black Africans were brought here as slaves.

When the Irish fled starvation and the Jews fled persecution.

Oh, and may I add for the benefit of Mr. Cuccinelli that his ancestors may have arrived during the significant immigration of Italians, who fled their home country because “decades of internal strife had left a legacy of violence, social chaos, and widespread poverty. The peasants in the primarily poor, mostly rural south of Italy and on the island of Sicily had little hope of improving their lot.”

Thank heaven that the people of Guatemala, Venezuela, Syria, aren’t facing such problems.

Ken, you can send my royalty checks to any charity that supports the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted.

 

Scriptural Reflection

Sacred writings of the various religions around the world and throughout history provide guidance for living a good and fruitful life. Many of the different writings provide similar directives; in fact, some are not only in various scriptures, but also in the common parlance. An example is the Golden Rule:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.[1]

Unfortunately, scripture is often seen as a buffet from which “believers” can pick and choose which thoughts to ignore and which thought to accept. Some use their chosen quotation to justify decidedly unchristian behavior.

I have heard many self-proclaimed Christians who are vehemently opposed to immigration, even when it is the only hope for people who are in danger of their life.

They pontificate their justification. They endorse obvious falsehoods from their political leaders. They use both scripture and politics to justify their personal bias.

I was born—and died—long before Jesus was born, so I was not in a position to be a Christian. However, your Christ was a devout Jew and read the Tanakh, the Jewish scripture, which is nearly identical to the Christian Old Testament. The Tanakh includes the Torah, the five Books of Moses (including Exodus) and the Nevi’im.

Both Christian and Hebrew scripture contain this advice:

Exodus 22: 21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

[1] Luke 6: 31

Lies and Damned Lies

Hitler said that if you are going to tell a lie, tell one so huge that people will believe it has to be true, because no one would expect anyone to believe such a lie.

Today, people willingly accept falsehoods that are blatant, obvious, and able to be factually proven as false with little or no effort.

I am confused.

In past conflicts in which psychological warfare was brutally applied, one of the techniques was to coerce a victim to admit to an obvious falsehood. Physical discomfort or torture was often involved.

“How many fingers am I holding up,” the captor asks as he holds up two fingers.

“Two,” the victim replies.

“No, I’m holding up three,” the captor would say and continue to badger the victim until the victim would say that three fingers were held up. Sometimes it was done to halt the torture or discomfort; in other cases, after enough torment, the victim began to believe whatever the captor said. Reality was whatever the captor said it was.

I’m amazed as to how people willingly accept falsehoods today. There’s no discomfort, no torture. Nevertheless, people are willing to accept things that they could, if they wanted to, easily determine to be lies.

Hitler could learn a thing or two if he were alive today.

 

Maybe the South Should Rise Again

Robert Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s son, was very concerned about the rewriting of history after the Civil War by Southerners. He charged the slain president’s two secretaries with writing the definitive and factual history of the war. It was not about state’s rights—it started as the effort to maintain the Union, but over time, Lincoln committed to eliminating slavery. Lincoln’s son wanted to make sure that people knew the truth.

If you read history and take into account the fights in Congress in the years leading up to the war, you will see that this is true. The Missouri Compromise, The Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act—all attempting to appease slaveholders—sought to avert war; unfortunately, war was inevitable.

The issue of slavery had been divisive since before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams—founding father and second president of the United States had warned that if the South formed a new nation, it would ultimately be torn apart by an extremely violent slave insurrection. The Confederacy did not last long enough to test his prediction, but it seems logical.

What if the effort to preserve the Union hadn’t been successful? If the slaves had rebelled or otherwise escaped, what would things be like today?

Perhaps all the “Whites Only” bigots would live in the Confederated States. The rest of us wouldn’t. It’s an interesting idea.