The Watering Hole; Thursday December 18 2014; HELP!!

OK. Here’s the thing. The electoral system in the US has been hijacked by the Supreme Court, by big money, by Congress, and by emergent power structures in the several states. How’d that happen? A quick look in the rear view mirror reminds us that:

1) In December of 2000 the Supreme Court jumped ahead of the pack and appointed George W. Bush POTUS simply because the popular vote in Florida was having some problem with ballot counting, and the distribution of Florida’s electoral votes would determine whether Al Gore or George Bush would become president. No matter that the national popular vote chose Al Gore, no matter the final Florida tally; only the electoral vote determines the presidency; everything else is academic.

2) In 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case essentially turned the nation’s electoral process into a ‘who can raise the most money’ contest, thereby green-lighting the purchase of the government by corporations, by Wall Street, and by billionaires. In short, money was now defined, in the political world, as the equivalent of speech. The fatter the wallet, the louder the “free” speech.

3) In 2012 the Supreme Court crippled a significant portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and essentially allowed the several states the privilege of enacting voter registration laws which could serve to reduce voter access amongst various ethnic and racial groups, thereby altering the final vote tally in ways that would ultimately act to favor one political party to the manipulated disadvantage of the other.

Whereto from here? Is it possible for the average Jane and John Doe to recapture their country, or is it too late? Have the oligarch and the right wing Fascist movement won? Has everything shifted in the worst possible way? Is there any possible solution?

Why not a Constitutional amendment, one that clarifies the right of the people to vote, and one that specifically corrects today’s major flaws in the voting/electoral system? Good idea, no? One could easily figure that at least 34 states might stand tall and ratify it by tomorrow, if only Congress would introduce it!

I haven’t heard that anyone in Congress is willing to take the bull by the blanks and get it done, though, so I figured why not help ’em out a little. How about this for starters?

ARTICLE XXVII ?

Section 1.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for Senator, for Representative, or for initiatives or amendments be they national or in any of the various States, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State for any reason or by any technique. Therefore:

Clause 1.

The Electoral College is hereby discarded; the Popular Vote only shall determine the election of President and Vice President.

Clause 2.

Individual and corporate financial contributions to all political processes at all National and State levels are hereinafter permitted in any quantity, although no financial contribution can be made to any given candidate, to any given political party, or in support of any particular initiative or amendment. All financial contributions will be addressed solely to a Central Electoral Fund which will then be distributed evenly to each and all candidates and for each and all ballot issues regardless of underlying politic.

Clause 3.

Each and every citizen of age eighteen and above is eligible to vote, in each and every election, for any candidate and on any ballot issue; such right shall not be denied or abridged in any way or by any means, by the United States or by any of the Several States.

Section 2.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Now I admit that I ain’t a lawyer, am not possessed by the burden of a “legal” mind. Stated another way, I admit to zero talent in re finding all the “right” words that are invariably implicit in and a requirement of legal baloney. OTOH, I figure that since Rome wasn’t built in a day and since James Madison is no longer with us .  . . well, you know, gotta start someplace. Right? Right.

HELP!!

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The Watering Hole, Monday, November 3rd, 2014: Strange Laws

I’m too nervous about the elections tomorrow, so I’m going to avoid politics.

I found the following odd state/town laws here at brainjet.com:

Alabama: Bear wrestling matches are outlawed.
Alaska: It’s legal to shoot bears in Alaska, but it’s not legal to wake a bear up for the purpose of taking its picture.
Arizona: Writing in toilet stalls is illegal ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO WORK IN MINES.
Arkansas: In Arkansas, pinball games are prohibited by the law from giving more than 25 free games to a high scorer.
California has a law that forbids a frog that dies in a frog race from being eaten.
Colorado: In Aspen, CO, snowball fights are illegal.
Connecticut: In Connecticut, a bushel of potatoes must, by law, weigh 150 pounds.
Delaware: It’s illegal to sell the (literal) hair of a dog.
Florida: For female hot dog stand workers in Broward County, it’s illegal to wear a g-string.
Georgia: In Georgia, moving a trout from one lake to another is prohibited by law.
Hawaii: In Hawaii, using imitation milk in a milkshake without warning is illegal.
Idaho: Idaho prohibits sale of eggs from another state without warning, and anyone who uses flour that’s not enriched with vitamins can face 30 days in jail.
Illinois: “Happy Hours” are prohibited.
Indiana: It’s illegal to sell cold beer in Indiana in a grocery store. If you want to get a chilled brew, you’ll have to make a trip to the liquor store.
Iowa: It’s illegal to surf while drunk in Iowa. This is actually a good policy, but it’s ridiculous in the landlocked state of Iowa.
Kansas: Apparently it’s possible to modify the weather in Kansas, but it’s illegal to do so without the proper permit.
Kentucky: All Kentucky lawyers must swear an oath to refrain from dueling.
Louisiana: In Louisiana, it’s against the law to insult players at a sporting event.
Maine: It’s illegal to place green crabs next to soft-shell crabs.
Maryland: It’s a crime in Maryland to possess more than 3 turtles at one time.
Massachusetts: Gift certificates are required to be valid for at least 7 years.
Michigan: It’s illegal to use foul language in front of a woman.
Minnesota: It’s illegal to go hunting with a ferret.
Mississippi: It’s illegal to take an animal that’s been hit by a railroad car.
Missouri: It’s illegal to pretend to be blind to make money.
Montana: It’s against the law for a water sprinkler to get a passerby wet.
Nebraska: In the city of Ogallala, it’s illegal to disturb public dirt.
Nevada: Nevada has respect for the dead. In the state, it’s prohibited to use bad language in front of a dead person.
New Hampshire: Prohibits seaweed harvesting at night.
New Jersey: In Haddon Township, flirting with somebody against their will is punishable by law.
New Mexico: It’s illegal to get on a ski lift while drunk.
New York: It’s illegal to walk in public with an ice cream cone in your pocket on Sundays.
North Carolina: It’s illegal to serve food to pigs that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked.
North Dakota: Kangaroo boxing is a crime.
Ohio: It’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait.
Oklahoma: It’s illegal to break INTO a prison.
Oregon: It’s against the law to own more than 2 undeployed airbags.
Pennsylvania: A Pennsylvania fortune-teller cannot charge money to try to shorten someone’s life.
Rhode Island: Wrapping fresh fish in a newspaper is against the law.
South Carolina: Fishing with dynamite is illegal.
South Dakota: Shooting an animal from an airplane is against the law.
Tennessee: Roller skaters must proceed in a single file line to be in accordance with the state law.
Texas: Taking more than 3 sips of beer at a time while standing is illegal.
Utah: The state has banned the “look, no hands” trick by law, stating that bicyclists must keep one hand on the handlebar at all times.
Vermont: In the city of Middlebury, having more than one person on a skateboard at a time is illegal.
Virginia: It’s illegal to release more than 50 balloons per hour.
Washington: In Bremerton, it’s illegal to throw garbage into anyone else’s trash can.
West Virginia: An unmarried couple living together in the state can be sent to jail.
Wisconsin: On highways in Wisconsin, livestock always has the right of way.
Wyoming: Opening a gate and not closing it is against the law.

This is our daily open thread – talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole: Tuesday September 23, 2014 Environmental News and Food Politics

So the climate march was big, almost 400,000 in New York. Will it change anything? Did 500,000 marchers stop the Iraq war from going forward? Well the UN Secretary marched in this one, but I’m afraid climate change will be addressed locally for the next who knows how many years. Nothing will change in Washington. We need  Democratic presidents to continue to be elected until the Supreme Court can be changed, so that gerrymandering can be legally ceased, and this the balance of power (one person = one vote) can be restored. Right now Republicans hold a hugely unfair advantage in many rust belt and mid Atlantic states because of the way districts are drawn at the state rep level and the congressional level. I weep when I think of how long it will take for our political apartheid (marginalizing Democratic majorities) to be rectified. This will be a 50-100 year war, I am afraid. The stakes are high. The powerful never relinquish willingly.

 

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 21st, 2014: SCALIA: JUSTice REVOLTing

Why does Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia keep giving us more reasons to question his fitness for his job?

It’s not like he hasn’t provided ample evidence of judicial bias over the years, the most fateful of which being his participation in the Selection of George W. Bush as President in Bush v Gore. Scalia’s later spinning of that decision, along with his callous exhortations to Gore voters to “get over it!”, calls into question both the decision and his more recent mental competence. One commenter on the linked article, which is from 2012, succinctly put it:

“Since Supreme Court decisions are intended to set legal precedent going forward (although in this bizarre instance the court stated this decision was meant to be sui generis, an abrogation of its function) then it is literally impossible to “get over” a Supreme Court decision. Maybe this swaggering jerk should step down if he doesn’t get that.”

justice scalia being rude
From a 2012 article in The Daily Beast, some info about the most infamous photo of Scalia:

“Vaffanculo”
Scalia didn’t appreciate a reporter from the Boston Herald asking him in 2006 how he responds to critics who say his religion impairs his fairness in rulings. “To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’” Scalia reportedly said, flicking his right hand from under his chin. In Italian, this not-so subtle phrase means “f–k off” and the accompanying hand flick is equally rude. “You’re not going to print that are you?” he apparently asked in an interaction that occurred, it’s worth noting, inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross at Sunday mass.”

[emphasis mine]

Scalia has no love for LGBT Americans, as discussed in a 2013 Mother Jones article. One example:

“In his dissent in Lawrence [Lawrence v Texas], Scalia argued that moral objections to homosexuality were sufficient justification for criminalizing gay sex. “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home,” he wrote. “They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

And in this Mother Jones article from February of 2012, sarcastically entitled “Supreme Court Poised to Declare Racism Over”, the [dis]honarable Justice Scalia displays his views on racial discrimination during Shelby County, Alabama’s challenge to the Voting Rights Act. From the article:

That’s not to say all discrimination is a thing of the past. In the eyes of the high court’s conservatives, America has transcended its tragic history of disenfranchising minorities, but there’s still one kind of discrimination that matters: Discrimination against the states covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Justice Antonin Scalia said that it was “sort of extraordinary to say” that “Congress can just pick out…these eight states,” referring to the states covered by Section 5.

Later, Scalia telegraphed his reasoning for what will almost certainly be a vote to strike down part of the law. Explaining overwhelming support for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization in Congress in 2006, Scalia called Section 5 the “perpetuation of a racial entitlement” that legislators would never have the courage to overturn. “In the House there are practically black districts by law now,” Scalia complained.

[Makes ya wonder how Scalia’s Siamese twin, Clarence Thomas, REALLY feels about discrimination against other American citizens of color.]

When Supreme Court Justices are connected at the spine

When Supreme Court Justices are connected at the spine


Conan O'Brien hits the nail on the head

Conan O’Brien hits the nail on the head

And then there’s these:
scalia court not political

Delusions of grandeur?

Delusions of grandeur?

Last week, Justice Scalia came out with another disturbing notion. From yesterday’s Think Progress thread:

“During an event at the University of Tennessee’s law school on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested to the capacity crowd that perhaps they should revolt against the U.S government if their taxes ever get too high.

During a question and answer part of the event, a student asked Scalia about the constitutionality of a federal income tax. Scalia assured the questioner that the tax was in fact permissible by the constitution, but added that if it ever became too high, “perhaps you should revolt.” … Supreme Court justices have largely refrained from such rhetoric. Still, in recent years, Scalia has shifted even further to the right than when he was first appointed.

Days later, at a joint appearance with fellow Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Scalia offered a bit of ironic commentary on inflammatory rhetoric. “It sometimes annoys me when somebody has made outrageous statements that are hateful,” he told the audience at the National Press Club. “Sometimes the press will say, ‘well, he was just exercising his first amendment rights’…You can be using your first amendment rights and it can be abominable that you are using your first amendment rights. I’ll defend your right to use it, but I will not defend the appropriateness of the manner in which you are using it.”

[Right back atcha, Antonin.]

And all of this from someone who was once a regular on the PBS series “Ethics In America”. The series was produced by the Columbia University Seminars on Media and Society and was hosted by Fred Friendly; individual episodes can be viewed here. I recommend checking out some of the episodes; the ones with Scalia show a younger, more reasonable and slightly more jovial Antonin Scalia.

These days, I don’t believe that Antonin Scalia knows the meaning of the word “ethics.”

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

Watering Hole April 15, 2014 Open thread- Wingnuts have standoff with BLM – Did you pay your taxes?

“Federal authorizes have said Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees he has not paid for 20 years. Yet Bundy, 67, has reportedly said he does not recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the tiny town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines.”

So? There are folks whose relatives came over on the Mayflower and they pay taxes and rent to the government all the time, obey environmental laws, and respect the constitution. States Rights my ass.. Personally , I’m sorry they didn’t bring in the sharpshooters to back up the BLM staff, but that would have fcuked up November Elections.

Read the rest here: I despise wingnuts.

 

Open Thread      Discuss

de·spise
diˈspīz/
verb
verb: despise; 3rd person present: despises; past tense: despised; past participle: despised; gerund or present participle: despising
  1. 1.
    feel contempt or a deep repugnance for.

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 7th, 2013: All the Crazy That Fits

It’s been a while since I put on my hip waders and stepped into Newsmax, so here’s a few gems:

From “Rev. Billy Graham Prepares ‘Perhaps … My Last Message’” by David A. Patton:

“In an exclusive interview, the Rev. Billy Graham tells Newsmax that President Obama’s “hope and change” mantra is nothing more than a cliché and warns that the nation faces increasing threats to civil and religious liberties from its government.

Graham, who is preparing for possibly his last crusade, this time via video, said America is drenched in a “sea of immorality” and suggested that the second coming of Christ is “near.”

“Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles,” Graham wrote in response. “‘Hope and change’ has become a cliché in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed,” he stated, an obvious reference to President Obama’s campaign motto.

“Our country is turning away from what has made it so great,” he continued, “but far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought; he knows our hearts need transformation.” ~~~

Many believing Christians believe in a coming Armageddon, a final battle between good and evil prophesied in the book of Revelation.

Graham tells Newsmax it is not wise to “speculate” about the dates of such a battle, but he adds that the Bible says that there “will be signs pointing toward the return of the Lord.”

“I believe all of these signs are evident today,” Graham wrote, adding that “the return of Christ is near.

“Regardless of what society says, we cannot go on much longer in the sea of immorality without judgment coming,” he says.”

Next, from “Rove: Obama Wants to ‘Break the Republicans'” by Amy Woods:

“Republican strategist Karl Rove on Sunday described President Barack Obama’s behavior throughout the budget showdown as “stubborn obstructionism” whose goal is to “get more money and break the Republicans.”

“The stubborn obstructionism of the president … has a purpose, which is to try and get the Congress to agree to the Senate Democrats’ spending number, which is $91 billion bigger than the House, and bust the sequester, and end the 2011 spending agreements,” Rove said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He is attempting to put the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling and, in fact, naming the amount of the debt ceiling on the Congress and not on himself.”

Third, from “Rand Paul: Democrats’ Stubbornness Keeping Government Closed” by Sandy Fitzgerald:

“Paul denied that House Republicans led to the shutdown by refusing to fund the government.

“The House Republicans said they would fund all of government, and they did,” Paul said. “They funded all of government short of one program. So they really were never wanting to shut down government over this, they were wanting to fund government, and then have a debate.”

He further blamed Obama for his refusal to negotiate for the shutdown.

“When you say the president wants 100 percent of Obamacare or he will shut down the government, that’s exactly what happened,” said Paul. “If he [Obama] doesn’t get 100 percent of his way – his way or the highway – then they won’t do any spending bills that don’t include everything that he wants. That’s him unwilling to negotiate, that’s him being unwilling to compromise.”

Had enough? How about one more? From “Rep. Graves: Obama To Blame if Country Defaults” by Amy Woods:

“Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves said Sunday the party is “united” in its belief the government should re-open and negotiations with Democrats should continue to avoid a possible economic default over the debt ceiling.

“We have had a tremendous fight over keeping the government open and protecting Americans from Obamacare,” Graves said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s no reason to default. The president’s the only one demanding default right now.”

Sorry, but I have to throw this last link in, just for laughs: Another one by Bill Hoffman, “From Senate to Center Stage: Fred Thompson Makes Broadway Debut”. The author of the piece completely omits any mention of Thompson’s disastrous run for the Presidency, or the fact that Thompson’s most recent “acting” gig has been on ‘Reverse-Mortgage’ commercials.

This is our Open Thread. Have at it!

THE WATERING HOLE: HUMP DAY, AUGUST 21, 2013: Law and Order

Law and order is the order of the day,
It’s the mortar and the clay
That makes the bricks of society
That sticks to propriety,
So praise God Al-mi-e-ty
For Law and Order in society today!

The upright citizen to this we must attest:
Shall right the wrong by writing up a citizen’s arrest.

Ever vigilant, the diligent vigilante:

Although we grant we know he can’t he
Knows he shan’t try to supplant the
Process that we call judicial;
So to make it all official
With the progress that we wish shall
Bring our town
The notoriety,
To place us in
Society,
So praise God
Al-mi-e-ty,
For law and order in society today!

The low down criminal with plots he would invent:
To rot the town though he’s brought down low
By his criminal intent!

Ever diligent, we’re vigilant diligently:

Eloquently, elegantly,
Gentlemanly our intent, we
Shroud our rationality
And cloud up our reality
With minimal mentality
That questions our
Sobriety
As bastions of
Society
So praise God
Al-mi-e-ty
For law and order in society today!

© 2013 Briseadh na Faire

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