Fearless Revolution was a blog dedicated to consumer rights and social and environmental responsibility, created by ex-advertising man Alex Bogusky circa 2010. Its positive message—calling for new relationships among businesses and consumers characterized by transparency, sustainability, democracy and collaboration—attracted a number of idealistic types from all over, including yours truly. Alex and wife Ana ran their revolution out of a small A-frame house in Boulder, Colorado they dubbed Fearless Cottage.
Yesterday my postbox disgorged ten letters, all from organizations seeking donations. Among them was an envelope with “Do you care if you no longer receive your mail at home?” next to my name. Its backside disclosed the sender was DLCC, the Democratic Leadership Campaign Committee, a 527 PAC (enabled by the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling) that funds candidates in down-ticket and off-year election races, striving to bankroll primary winners the Democratic establishment can live with.
I threw the other nine letters away but decided to check out what DLCC was up to. When I tore it open, something like a bumper sticker fell out bearing seven decals, including SAVE USPS, THANK YOU POSTAL WORKERS, and DUMP DEJOY. Thanks for that, DLCC. I’ll stick a couple on my mailbox to express solidarity with my letter carrier. Continue reading “How not to Fix the Post Office or Government in General”
CC: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Judge Barrett,
Congratulations on your nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States! You must be ecstatic! What greater plum could an ambitious jurist wish for, unless it’s Chief Justice? You’ll just have to wait your turn, if that is on your agenda.
So be a good sport and chill for the time being. Ask Donald Trump to give you a rain check. For the sake of the Republic. You see, you and those who vote to confirm you will be judged by present and future Americans according to how well your ascension to the highest court in the land serves the tattered remnants of our so-called republic, so please listen up.
We don’t care what an accomplished legal scholar or nice person you are; all we know is that you are being used in the most high-handed way and that this ought to disturb anyone who believes in fair play and the rule of law.
It will, after all, be up to you and your colleagues on the high court to adjudicate whether governmental authority has been overreached, either by the Executive, Congress, or the judiciary, including your very own precious Supreme Court. This, as you may know, has happened, and more so recently.
This is supremely important. For decades, our presidents have inexorably extended the reach of their decision-making authority until almost any executive order is generally deemed legitimate. President Trump has hollowed out the constitution time and time again by abrogating to himself the authority to, for example, terminate the DACA program, grab portions of federal agency budgets to build a wall at the Mexican Border using funds Congress did not appropriate for such a purpose, and send federal law enforcement agents to arrest legitimate protestors over the objection of local authorities.
Are you okay with unlimited executive prerogatives? Is the pliant acquiescence of the Republican-controlled senate to whatever the President may demand (such as ramming through your appointment scant weeks before a presidential election) prima facie an exercise in legitimate constitutional as well as moral authority?
Most people’s moral political compass would point toward declining this nomination and tell the President to try again once he is re-elected. That would be the honorable thing to do. That would comfort the nation. You must clearly understand that quick confirmation of your nomination is expeditious for the administration and its allies. Do you want to be a pawn in their game? What self-respecting person would stand to be used in such a manner?
Your deeply held beliefs may have real and possibly adverse consequence for our loved ones and descendants, but that’s not our real problem. What’s truly upsetting is that you would allow yourself to be used to further an authoritarian agenda on behalf of a president who is loyal only to himself, his pocketbook, and his overreaching ambitions. You know who Donald Trump is, that he has failed the Americans he claims to represent, and has no respect for the rule of any law he takes exception to, so why would you stand for his and Mitch McConnell’s end run around tradition and due process, even if it advances your career?
End this charade. Find a way to bow out. We suggest going through the confirmation process and then withdrawing before being sworn in. No need to explain; simply cite personal reasons. If you don’t and go on to take your seat on the bench you will have contributed to hastening the end of democracy in our republic and history will not judge you kindly.
One Hundred Million Americans
September 27, 2020; updated October 7, 2020
Even if no one you know catches it, you’ll start to worry if you’re not already flushed with paranoia. At first, everything seemed normal. It was hard to understand all the attention given to it when it was half way around the globe. We’ll be ready for it when it comes, you thought. Wasn’t Trump telling us it was less concerning than the Flu. So confidant was he that he barred the WHO test for the virus that is used all over the world. Why didn’t he just put a tariff on it, like everything else? Instead, he encouraged pharma friends to develop tests and vaccines (based on publicly-funded research, as usual) that they could make dear and make a killing (literally). It’s the economy, stupid, not the citizens. All the smart people are investing in drug companies, medical suppliers, and collaborative web platforms. Continue reading “Business as Unusual: Notes on a pandemic”
Help me get this straight. Rudolph Giuliani is the President’s private attorney, or at least he still seems to be. According to CNN on 10/11/19:
“Rudy Giuliani is still President Trump’s personal attorney but will not be dealing with matters involving Ukraine, a source close to Trump’s legal team told CNN.
Earlier today, Trump wouldn’t say whether Giuliani was still his personal attorney.
‘Well I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney, yeah, sure,’ he told CNN.
Asked later by CNN if he was still Trump’s attorney, Giuliani responded, ‘Yes.’”
As CNN went on to note:
“However, Ukraine is at the center of the current impeachment investigation being conducted by the House of Representatives into Trump. Also, the criminal indictment against two of Giuliani’s associates who were arrested Wednesday night trying to leave the US, describe an elaborate, months-long scheme to funnel foreign money into federal and state elections around the US to curry favor with politicians on behalf of at least one Ukrainian government official and a Russian businessman.”
Wasn’t Giuliani the bagman for Trump’s sordid campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens under pain of losing US military assistance—to fight the Russians, whom for Democrats seem to be the source of most of the world’s evils? Aren’t these two shady guys (Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman) his erstwhile if not indicted partners in crime? Why aren’t Rudy and his pals fodder for impeachment proceedings? This does not compute. Continue reading “Where Was Rudy Giuliani When Democrats Needed Him?”
Note: It was almost one year ago (11/21/18, to be precise) that I wrote this post about Massachusetts ex-governor Deval Patrick considering the Democratic race for President on 2020. Well, it took him another year to hem and haw over it before throwing his black hat into the ring, but what made him wait until now to decide? Methinks he didn’t want Michael Bloomberg, another financier with much deeper pockets, to outflank him. But now the gang of twenty or whatever candidates have a long head start with a few debates under their belts. How is Patrick going to snuggle up?
There’s a sound bite in this BBC story about his announcement in which he says “I don’t think wealth is the problem. Greed is the problem…” All right then. Let’s outlaw greed.
Anyway, here’s my article. I don’t think much has changed.
This week, a humanitarian crisis erupted in northern Syria, thanks to America’s autocrat Donald Trump and Turkey’s Regip Tayip Erdoğan, a tragedy which opponents to US interventions in sovereign affairs should take notice and register harsh opinions. Trump relinquished US interest in the region and Erdoğan swiftly capitalized on that decision.
Dave Lindorff is a principled progressive voice who has for years taken on the injustice, duplicity, and corruption of America’s duopolistic political system. He’s one of five fire-in-the-belly proprietors of the blog This Can’t Be Happening! that calls itself “a major destabilizing influence.” There he covers economics, politics, healthcare and environment. See his articles here.
His most recent, from October 8th, however, leaves much to be desired.
Headlined Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ but What’s New about That? and subtitled “The US has a sordid history of betraying minority groups that do its fighting,” it praises Trump for pulling the US military forces from northern Syria, also known as Rojava, and not inserting them into any new wars (hmm, not even Yemen?). The article also appeared in CounterPunch this weekend, and so a lot of people have read it.
It’s true, we came close to the brink of peace with North Korea and haven’t (yet) attacked Venezuela, thanks, perhaps to The Donald, but pulling troops out of Syria has produced a nightmare there overnight, something that many predicted and Lindorff seems blind to.
We tend to think of electric cars as futuristic but for our great-great grandparents, they were a thing. Who knew so many of the private automobiles sold up until the 1920s were electric-powered or that they and their styles ranged so far and wide? They were easier to start and maintain than cars propelled by internal combustion engines and had no gears to shift through, noise to suffer through, or smoke to choke through. Motor Magazine’s 218-page catalog of all cars marketed in the US in 1907 featured something like 800 models, including 75 electric vehicles (EVs) from dozens of manufacturers offering buggies for under $1000 to limousines at $4000 or more. Pretty expensive for back then, but gas and steam cars cost a lot too until after 1910 and the Ford Model T. But before that…
Life is already too short to waste on speed.
So, what does footloose communing with nature mean for you?
Harper’s Magazine published this bucolic scene of camping in New York’s Adirondacks by up-and-coming artist Winslow Homer in 1874. It’s one of many illustrations he turned out in competition with Currier & Ives in the mid-to-late 19th century for magazines and newspapers, most depicting Americans comporting themselves out-of-doors in cities, towns, villages, and beyond, in an age unmarred by automobiles, aircraft, telephones, and digitalia.
But even by then, the accelerating pace of progress had decimated the vast Adirondack region in its voracious demand for lumber, paper, and charcoal. In the mid-1880s, after much environmentalist agitation and corporate opposition, New York’s legislature designated the area as a forest preserve. Ten years hence, after the preserve’s stewards were exposed as corrupt, the state constitution was amended to protect the 6.3M-acre region “forever.” The amendment was all of two sentences, but it did the trick:
It’s a drag, but can be cured
Every website needs a way for visitors to send a message to its proprietors. Some sites provide an email address, but typically they have a form on a page that tends to be called Contact. That’s what I did when I set up a website for my publishing imprint, Perfidy Press. Having put together several sites already, I should have known better than to set up a contact page that wasn’t protected against robots, but gave it no thought. Naively, I presumed that only people who cared about my content would bother to contact me. That seems to have been the case for the first six months it was online, when one or two responses a week got dumped into my inbox, but in the last two months it’s been more like one or two a day, and they keep getting more bizarre.