Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ruth Bader Ginzburg has a right to tell the truth

Supreme Court Justice Ginzburg has recently criticized Donald Trump as being unfit to serve as President of the United States. In return, Ginzburg has received criticism from Trump that attacks her for being old:
“Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot—resign!”
Amazingly (sarcasm intended) some legal commentators agreed with Trump, including New York University law professor Stephen Gillers, who wrote that judges who speak out on political matters undermine the "rule of law":
“To protect the rule of law. We want the public to view judicial rulings solely as the product of law and legal reasoning, uninfluenced by political considerations. Acceptance of court rulings is undermined if the public believes that judicial decisions are politically motivated.”
Notice the absurdity of this criticism. Gillers says lawyers want the public to believe that rulings are the product of law and legal reasoning, even though he knows that they are not, and anyone who has followed the history of recent Supreme Court rulings knows they are not. But, he says, Ginzburg undermines the rule of law by telling the truth about Donald Trump.

Sorry, Gillers, your rule of law is a fantasy which the legal profession has concocted. Ginzburg should not be criticized for undermining a fantasy. She should be praised for revealing the truth. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A vote for HIllary is a vote for Dr. Jekyll; forget that she's also Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 wrote a great novel called, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The leading characters in this book were Dr. Jekyll, a kindly, selfless gentleman who was kind to small children and dogs, and Mr. Hyde, an alcoholic seducer of women and all-around bad guy. The author invites readers to admire Jekyll and despise Hyde. But the truth is that Jekyll and Hyde are the same man.

So now in 2016 we are presented with 2 candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, whom Clinton supporters portray as the dastardly Mr. Hyde. These diehard Hillary fans have very little to say about their candidate, except that she's honest and not a crook. They claim Hillary and Trump are as different as night and day when in fact they are just two sides of the same coin. In fact, they are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Progressives turned against Hillary in 2012 because they were presented with an attractive alternative, Barack Obama. But now she's back and she's claiming the progressive mantle she has torn from the shoulders of Bernie Sanders. Trump is wicked, she says. He's against climate control. He favors the banks over the people. And he's sexist, too.

Hillary claims she's way better than Trump. But only last month, Charles Koch, he of the coal mines and pipelines, said it was possible that he would support Hillary. He added that her actions would have to be different from her rhetoric. Hillary fans breathed a sigh of relief and Scopes claimed the idea that Koch would support Hillary was false. He said he wasn't serious.

But the idea that Hillary's rhetoric would not be matched by deeds is not far-fetched. After all, this woman once claimed that blacks were "super-predators" when she supported the laws that resulted in millions of blacks being locked up for non-violent crimes--the sorts of crimes that whites were never charged for.

What is being missed by Hillary supporters in this election is that the main issue, perhaps the only important issue, is whether this country should continue to be governed by the one percent of Americans at the very top of the income pyramid. I think people understand that Donald Trump is one of those. Very few recognize that Hillary Clinton is another. So Republicans can honestly boast that the Democratic party is run by millionaires and billionaires.

Except for Bernie and his backers. Which side are you on?

Posted on Quora: Is being a Democrat in the Southern states frowned upon?

Yes. I lived for 6 years in Florida, certainly a Southern state, although some say it’s not a “deep south” state. That’s only because it is large enough to have several different communities. I was very much interested in helping Obama win the state in 2008, so I canvassed neighborhoods for him door-to-door. That was an eye-opener. Every one of the names in my first neighborhood belonged to a black person. This may not seem strange, but Florida is so segregated that you will not see a black person in a white community.

This comment does not concern Southeast Florida, where there are plenty of non-whites. But in West Florida, where I lived, there was hardly a dark face to be seen. The latinos who collected trash lived 20 miles away. I don’t blame them. One of my most disturbing recollections came during that election when a bunch of our neighbors, some of whom we knew personally, ambushed us at a crosswalk shouting tea party slogans at us.

I personally believe that anyone who admires the tea party is a sucker looking to be fleeced, as Trump’s success in the current election cycle has proven. But these elderly white folks aggressively approached my wife and I at a public intersection. Apparently they believed that everyone who lived in our small town was a Republican. Perhaps they were right. There was a Democratic campaign headquarters in a house near ours, but we never passed by when it was open. I twice tried to attend announced Democratic committee meetings but on neither occasion was I able to find the address advertised on the announcement.
I did attend a focus group for “Democrats”, but found it was being trolled by a libertarian who wanted to talk about shutting down the federal reserve board. It was the first time I had been confronted with anyone who believed we should go back on the gold standard; I had no arguments to answer him with. When I suggested that we should discuss legalizing marijuana, one of the ladies was shocked, as if I had proposed legalizing armed robbery, or inter-racial marriage. There were no blacks at that meeting.
In my travels around the state, I discovered 2 segregated black villages. One was on a back road, far from any city. Suddenly, there were blacks all around us, with black stores and fast-food chains. Then I was back on the white road, where nary a sign of blackness could be detected. The other black neighborhood was in Gainesville, site of the University of Florida. I stumbled on the black district by accident while visiting a state park. The nearest neighbors to that district were about 200 alligators, so it was clear why no whites ever lived there. The park ranger told us that the alligators were getting birth defects from the birth control pills the white college students used. I had never heard this particular fantasy before and had no way to argue against it.
For the most part, though, I kept my mouth shut, even if I did have good arguments to use. While touring one of the few plantations in Florida, I listened dumbly as the guide explained that southerners opposed abolition of slavery because it would be an economic loss to them, just as if they had been forced to give away a cow. I’m sure she was correct, but I would have liked a few words on the monstrosity of the institution of slavery. Crickets. The slave quarters had all been torn by when the plantation was renovated by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
The creed of southern whites is silence. Never mention racism. Never report any racist activity. Never talk to any blacks. Their intent is to convince the northerners that racism in the South has been abolished. The only thing that has been abolished is talking about racism.
So yes, being a Democrat in the South is “frowned upon.” The Democratic Party is so disorganized that the last election for Governor featured a Tea Party Republican vs. a Republican who had changed his registration to Democrat. The Democrats were not sufficiently organized to get one of their own on the ballot. Not surprising when I couldn’t even find the Democratic Committee HQ for my county.

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Facebook Response to A Young Male Sphincter-With-Legs

On Facebook recently, I defended a young woman friend of mine from a young male acquaintance. My friend had posted a science-based meme of Bill Nye, and stated that "Women deserve more reproductive rights, not fewer". The acquaintance made a number of lengthy comments which essentially stated that men should not be forced to pay for babies they father, if they don't feel like it. I will include only the final few lines of his comments here.. it didn't seem necessary to reproduce all the rest. Note that I had tried repeatedly to reason with this guy, to no avail. My (final) response follows his. : 
"Actually, as long as it's not rape it's two people's decisions to have sex. unprotected or not, I just don't see how it's fair if the woman gets to decide it was a bad idea and drop everything while the man is stuck with the bill.  I support a woman's AND a man's right to choose.  Men deserve as many reproductive rights as women, I don't see how men having to pay for a woman's lack of foresight (not being able to afford a baby and having one anyway) is fair when the opposite is not true.  While it's true this isn't the biggest issue in the world dismissing it as only the man's fault is quite sexist."

Kyle... (sigh)... yes, each person is responsible for their own actions. However, you do NOT get to tell a woman she has to carry a baby to term, if she doesn't want to. Neither do you get to avoid responsibility for any lives you create by CHOOSING NOT to wear a condom. Lots of men don't want to wear condoms. But if you don't wear a condom, and you create a life, and the woman doesn't want to abort it...? Guess what, you HAD your chance to choose, when you chose to have unprotected sex. After that... it's up to the woman, which is as it should be, because she ALREADY has to bear the burden of her own (idiotic) decision to have unprotected sex with you. SHE is the one who will be MOST affected by whatever decision she makes. SHE is the one who will have to suffer, whether she decides to have an abortion, or endure nine months of pregnancy and then either spend the rest of her young life raising the child, or suffer the anguish of giving it up for adoption. NONE of these options is either cheap, or easy. For you to condense it all down to money, shows how very little compassion you have for the mother, or the child, or anyone but yourself.

Anyway, to simplify it for you: by not wearing a condom, you give up your right to object to being "stuck with the bill". Clear yet?

As for calling me sexist... that is a classic troll tactic, and you are a classic troll. It is YOU who are sexist, because you keep talking about women taking your wallet, and sticking you with the bill. It is clear to me that you do not like or understand women. My suggestion is that you get a vasectomy... then you will never have to worry about getting "stuck" with anything!

Oh, and you needn't bother to respond to this, because I will be blocking you immediately. I have suggested to R that she do the same, so as not to be further harassed by you.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hillary supporters falsely accuse Bernie Sanders of unethical actions

Bernie supporters tend to rationalize and create excuses for all of the Senator’s questionable stances and actions. It seems as if Sanders is infallible and, in his supporters eyes, incapable of making a mistake. Every human is flawed, so what mistakes has he made you cannot condone or rationalize?

Allan Masri
(This post originally appeared as a response to a question in Quora)Your statement that Bernie supporters rationalize and create excuses for all of the Senator’s questionable stances is false. Bernie supporters know that Hillary and her minions are planting false stories in the media. Therefore, we have no need for excuses or rationalizations.

Take the statement made by Debbie Wasserman Schultz that Bernie said he did not condone violence—and here she uttered a broadly emphasized “but…” The truth is that Bernie did not have any buts in the statement he released to the public. Schultz is trying to make the public believe that Bernie said something he did not say. The same is true when she reports that “chairs were thrown” or the delegates in Nevada were “violent”. There is plenty of video coverage of the scene in Nevada. No chairs were thrown. No acts of violence were committed. So there is nothing for Bernie supporters to excuse or rationalize.
The advantage that we Bernie supporters have is that Bernie is always honest and above board. The same cannot be said for Hillary or Schultz, who reminds us of Bagdad Bob, the spokesman for Saddam Hussein who
denied there were any American tanks in Baghdad, when in fact they were only several hundred meters away from the press conference where he was speaking [1]
It is obvious from videos taken at the convention that
  1. The convention Chair railroaded through very undemocratic and extraordinary rules of procedure. For example, the new rules made any ruling by the chair impossible to change. This kind of absolute power is familiar in dictatorships, but unknown—until now—in democracies.
  2. The Chair of the convention asked for a voice vote on the report of the credentials committee. A clear majority of the delegates present opposed their adoption, but the Chair ruled that the rules were approved despite the obvious wishes of the delegates.
  3. The Chair of the credentials committee was fired because she objected to the way that the Hillary members had removed 64 Bernie delegates from the official delegate rolls, without adequate investigation, or warning, or explanation.
  4. The convention Chair at first refused to permit a minority report from the credentials committee to be read to the delegates until another member, serving as temporary chair, yielded his time for the reading.
  5. All of these actions angered the delegates to the convention, who voiced their loud disapproval of these anti-democratic tactics. But the ruling of the chair could not be appealed under the new rules. This proves that the rules were changed because Hillary and her supporters recognized they would never get the extra two delegates to the Convention in Philadelphia without pulling these procedural shenanigans.
So no, the Bernie supporters have nothing to apologize for. There was no violence or any other illegal acts.
On the other hand, Hillary and her anti-democratic crew have a great deal to apologize for, but no such apology has been offered. Instead, they have accused Bernie and his supporters of the same kinds of acts that they publicly committed. Can Hillary be elected when she and her supporters use these tactics against fellow democrats who happen to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders?
Footnotes

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thoughts on Fear, Living in the Future, and Being Personally Responsible for the End of the World

You know what?  It bothers me a WHOLE LOT when I repeatedly see people on Facebook and in the news accusing Bernie Sanders and his supporters of being terrible people because they (and I) will not agree to support Hillary. The accusations get uglier all the time.

But the thing is, the convention doesn't even HAPPEN until July. Contrary to what Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz and the media and ALL SORTS of other people are constantly telling us, we do not actually HAVE a candidate for the Democratic party, at the moment. Clinton IS ahead of Sanders... yes, I HAVE noticed. But despite all the shouting and name-calling and media pundit-ing... she HAS NOT WON. YET.

I keep thinking about this THING that's going on, and how everybody is ready to LEAP into the future, all the way to JULY, going, "What IF, what IF?" We humans are really terrible at living in the present moment, particularly Americans, I think. I know that I personally struggle with this all the time. I go "what if"... and then suddenly I'm imagining all sorts of terrible outcomes. And all the time I'm (physically) still in my pleasant apartment in Beaverton, OR, with my wonderful husband and two lovely cats. All IS well... only I'm not there to enjoy it. Instead, I'm off trying to figure out what's going to happen in the future, so I can maybe prepare for it... somehow.

It seems to me that Clinton's campaign, and the media, and the Democratic National Committee, and all the other powers-that-be that I don't know about behind the scenes... that they are all exploiting this very human tendency of ours to leap into the future. They make it seem like it's already happened, that Clinton has won, and now we've all got to stand together to defeat the fantastically, apocalyptically obnoxious threat that is Trump... and if we don't, it'll be "Hello, President Trump"... and THEN...!!!

Of COURSE, they want us to follow this train of thought. OF COURSE, they WANT us all to fall into line behind Clinton, and believe that the future of the free world depends on it. But the bottom line is this: UNTIL Clinton is actually elected as the Democratic candidate, all the trash-talk about how Clinton is our only hope, and how Sanders and his supporters are somehow terrible, for not supporting her...? Guess what-- that talk is PROPAGANDA. Its only purpose is to play on our fears, to make us despair... and to convince us that things are true, when they're NOT.

It's actually  similar to what the Germans did in World War II: they had a propagandist radio broadcaster known as Lord Haw Haw, whose job was to convince the Allies to give up. Good thing it didn't work!! Lord Haw Haw

I don't frankly know what I will do, IF Clinton wins. What I DO know, is that I don't appreciate being constantly threatened and badgered by the Clinton campaign, and the press, and Facebook posts, that I'd better roll on my back and start supporting her... or else Fascism will take over, and it will be ALL MY FAULT!!

How about if we try to keep the conversation to things that are currently happening, and out of that dangerous "what if" territory? There's certainly plenty to talk about, and plenty that needs to be done! But when I think too much about what the future might hold, the world suddenly seems too dark for me to want to continue in. I need to fight that kind of thinking... I think we ALL do.





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Scam Alert: Beware FeaturedRentals and Apartment Hunters Inc... they are hunting US!

Not long ago, I was doing a lot of online apartment-hunting, primarily using the Walk Score website. In the process, I narrowly escaped being scammed.  This experience really angered and upset me; I wrote this post to describe what happened to me, and hopefully to help others avoid the same experience.
To Walk Score: your apartment listings appear to have been invaded by a nasty scamming organization called Apartment Hunters Inc. I have been searching for apartments through your site and when I try to contact the property, the link mostly leads to rentjungle.com. When I click on "contact" on their site, it leads to FeaturedRentals.com, a company that requires you to pay $49 before they let you get contact information. This company emailed me, and when I followed their "sign up" link, I found that behind them is an organization called Apartment Hunters Inc, which has all sorts of complaints against them for posting fraudulent listings and ripping people off. The Better Business Bureau gives them a rating of "F". I have had to search apartment complexes by name, and look for their websites, in order to avoid these people. I really hope you address this problem, as I will not continue using and recommending your service otherwise. 

I have been experiencing this, not just with one listing, but REPEATEDLY, with MANY listings. RentJungle's link led me to FeaturedRentals.com, which now is giving a three-day free "trial" before charging you $49 for thirty days of their "service". I looked at the address of some of the listings elsewhere and found that they were already off the market.

Then I got an email from Featured Rentals.com, telling me the unit was "empty and available for immediate occupancy", and providing a "sign up" link. When I followed that link to see where it went, I came to a page where they wanted my credit card number and other info. I noticed that the "real" web address at the top of the screen showed "ApartmentHunters.com". Searching them and adding "review" revealed a huge amount of complaints about scamming and fraudulent listing of already-rented properties.

Here is just one of the listings that I followed: https://www.walkscore.com/score/12388...

You DO have a problem, Walk Score, and you need to address it!!