RBG and Roberts’ Rule

The Founders carefully allocated responsibilities among the branches to protect citizens from governmental over-reach. The Executive Branch has flouted those boundaries throughout the Trump Presidency, with Cabinet officers finally acting not as protectors of the Constitution, but as lackeys in service to the whims of the POTUS. In Congress, McConnell has used obstruction to undermine legislative deliberation, and focused on packing of the Federal Courts with partisans – using the filibuster when not in power, and then eliminating it for most positions during the Trump era.

The Roberts Supreme Court was the last holdout in the corruption of the Founders’ intentions. That has been uneven. Roberts hypocritically criticized the House Impeachment Managers for questioning the motives of the Republican Senate in failing to call witnesses, demanding respect for the “world’s greatest deliberative body” that McConnell has corrupted. But at least in the last Court session, Roberts insisted that precedent be honored, siding with the liberal members of the bench when his conservative peers attempted to over-ride prior judgments from his court.

With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, that respect for precedent and the character of the Court is at risk. If Trump and McConnell succeed in seating a conservative ideologue, Roberts will find himself on the losing side in attempting to prevent arbitrary flouting of precedent.

The only method for restoring proper balance on the Court is for a Democratic-controlled Senate to mercilessly impeach Justices for judicial over-reach. The popular expedient – expanding the number of Justices – would be a mistake. Proper functioning of the Court requires thorough probing of the constitutional issues during oral arguments. As more Justices are added, that process will become unwieldly.

No, the proper approach is to erase McConnell’s legacy, just as he and Trump have worked to erase the legacy of our most popular politician (President Obama). Set up the impeachment express, and flush all the Conservative hacks out of the judiciary.

COVID Symptoms Explained

Scientists have compared 17,000 patient outcomes to their genes, and it appears that COVID attacks the body’s ability to maintain low blood pressure. A failure to regulate bradykinin, a protein, is specifically harmful. The blood-brain barrier fails, causing mental failure. The lungs produce a water-absorbing chemical that swells (somewhat like Jello), preventing gas from being exchanged.

Poor regulation of bradykinin is a common cause of high blood pressure, and existing drugs can be used to help COVID-19 patients. But Vitamin D is also helpful, as I promoted back in April. The report states that 20% of all Americans have a vitamin D deficiency. See your doctor or functional medicine specialist for recommendations on supplementation.

Gotta Love Them Founders

Summarizing an interesting analysis of the consequences of failing to hold the November elections:

The Founders considered the possibility that the Electoral College would fail to return presidential and vice-presidential appointees (note that these are actually two separate decisions by the body) prior to the end-of-term for the current office holders.

The outcome also reflects the fact that Congressional terms end on January 3, while the Executive Branch terms end later (typically around January 20).

  1. If no elections are held, the Electoral College will fail to select either a President or Vice President.
  2. On January 3, the entire House of Representatives loses office, while the Senate reconvenes with only those whose terms are held over from prior elections. Since the bulk of the expiring Senators are Republicans, the sitting Senate will be controlled by the Democrats
  3. When the President and Vice President leave office around January 20th, nominally the Speaker of the House becomes President. But the House is not convened, so the fallback is to the Senate Pro Tem, which – since the Senate will be controlled by the Democrats – is going to be Chuck Schumer.

So as of January 20th, Chuck Schumer becomes President of the United States. Unless he doesn’t want to be President, and props up the selection of a Pro Tem who does.

No Turning Back Now

In a nutshell: the last forty years (since Reagan) has been an exploration of the neo-conservative proposition that the only legitimate way to negotiate the distribution of power is the free market. It led initially to deregulation and then “trickle-down economics.” As the evidence mounted that those strategies were failing, the ideologues used their control of government to rig the system so that the subscribers to the ideology enjoyed financial success — a “tinkle-down” economics that undermined the operation of the free market.

What we are witnessing in 2020 is demonstration after demonstration that the profit motive, left unchecked, creates fragile systems that cannot survive disruption. To survive in this era, the public at large will move to make the economic elite irrelevant. That is evident in political exercises that insist “we will take care of those threatened by economic and political disenfranchisement.” Examples include the CARES and HEROES acts, lining up to vote during a pandemic, giving away food and drink to BLM protesters. The elite can attempt to pull the financial rug out from under these efforts, but what they will discover is that it is far easier to nationalize assets than it is to buy them. People without a stake in the system, looking into a future with no opportunity, will construct a parallel economy built around value, rather than profit.

A Hill of Beans to Die On?

Just finished listening to Maddow’s interview of Mary Trump.

I find the juxtaposition with Trump’s promotion of Goya beans to be unnerving. Hayes profiled the polling that shows that while Trump is heading for a disastrous loss in November, the majority of self-identifying Republicans consider their loyalty to be to Trump rather than the GoP. Trump’s falling poll numbers are thus an indication that those loyal to the GoP are exiting the party.

In this context, the only rational goal of the man who promised to “run the nation like a business” is to seek to cash in on his position. Investigative reporting shows that Trump is laundering money of uncertain origin through his golf courses. Given the misappropriation of inaugural funds, I would not be at all surprised to learn that Trump is siphoning money from his re-election campaign into his private accounts.

The promotion of Goya beans from the Oval Office is of a piece with this hypothesis. How much has Goya contributed to the Trump campaign?

I suggested here that bookies would find it profitable to run a lottery on Trump’s state of refuge following his departure from the White House. His lack of attention to the COVID crisis may reflect his acceptance of the fact that his loss is inevitable, a vicious punishment for the electorate that is betraying him. I think that following his loss, his only interest, between November and January, is going to be arranging his flight to a state that will guarantee him non-extradition.

Foaming at the Mouth

The degree to which the Republican grandees have abandoned the Constitution is revealed in their justification for suppressing mail-in voting:

If we allow mail-in voting, no Republican will ever be elected President.

Hello: last I checked, the United States was a representative democracy. That means that dogmatists can expected to be checked by the will of the people. When your policies make you unelectable, you need to change your policies.

In other words, what the Trump, McConnel, and their ilk are saying is “if we want to have another Republican president, we will have to abandon our corrupt crony-capitalism Federal racket.”

Which, actually, is just fine by me.

Turned Off

I do not subscribe to shame. It is somewhat pitiful, rather, that they need it so badly that they rape me in my dreams.

They have been proud of the control they wield over the President, but the hammer blows fall faster and faster. They try new gambits.

So after the rape, this dream: I am appealing to my sons for financial support, and they ignore me. Flying toward an ancient city, I float over a carpeted field of discards. Drawn below, I tug at the loosened ends of a roll. Two ceramic plates? No, they didn’t like that.

A pause, and I try again. Two tablets. I turn the first one on and the dream shifts. The screen displays the vibrantly-hued pages of a comic book. I look around me. Rich color everywhere.

You see, I cannot see pictures when I dream. They have occupied that part of my mind, and do not let images through.

Am I supposed to be impressed? You have trapped yourself in the avenues of my imagination. I will see visions again, with or without your consent. The question is only whether you will be torn apart in the realization of that eventuality.

So, no, I did not feel obligated by the gift. Rather, I calmly asked, “And just what does this do for the people that I love and serve?”