Showing 1 - 10 of 66 posts found matching keyword: politics

I'm one of those people who, back in 2018, was reluctant to impeaching the sitting President because there was no way the Senate would do anything.

I'm also one of those people who, even though the Senate probably still won't do anything, has become convinced that impeachment is a necessity in the wake of the sitting President actively soliciting extorting outside influence on the 2020 election.

I'm bothered that a not insignificant portion of America continues to support the President's interest in subverting the democratic rule of law. I want to give my fellow countrymen the benefit of the doubt. I hope it's a simple case of ignorance, either about the law or about what the President admits that he did.

Late in his life, Thomas Jefferson explained that he wrote the Declaration of Independence

"to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent."

Obviously, that worked out pretty well*. May the inevitable Articles of Impeachment be just as successful.

*John Adams rather famously estimated that up to a third of the American population resisted Independence until the bitter end. In any era, some minds can't be changed.

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Press Briefing by President George Washington, issued on April 8, 1793:

MR. WASHINGTON: Hey, guys. How are you all?

So we're going to talk about French Minister Genet. We're going to announce today that we're going to meet Citizen Genet on May Eighteenth at the Mount Vernon facility in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Now, let's talk about the site selection process because I know you folks will ask some questions about that. How do we go about doing this? First of all, we use a lot of the same criteria that have been used by presidents of the Confederation Congress. There's a long list of the accommodations on site: the ballrooms, bilateral rooms, the number of rooms, the portrait ops, the support lodgings that are there, the proximity to cities and seaports, carriage boarding zones, medical facilities, et cetera.

So we use the same set of criteria that previous administrations have used. We started with a list of about a dozen, just on parchment. And we sent an advance team out to actually visit ten locations in several states. We visited Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Now, we got that list down to just under ten, and the advance team went out to visit those. And from there, we got down to four finalists that our senior team went out to look at. They looked at — I think it was one in Maryland, two in New Jersey, and then the Pennsylvania State House facility in Philadelphia.

And it became apparent at the end of that process that Mount Vernon was, by far and away — far and away — the best physical facility for this meeting. In fact, I was talking to one of the advance teams when they came back, and I said, "What was it like?" And they said, "George, you're not going to believe this, but it's almost like your father built this facility to host this type of event." If any of you have been there, you know that there's separate buildings with their own rooms, separate and apart from each building, so that one country can have a building, another country can have another, you folks could have your building for the press. And obviously, the common areas are going to be perfect for our needs down there.

Anticipating your questions: How is this not an emoluments violation? Am I going to profit from this? I think I have pretty much made it very clear since I arrived here that I don't profit from being here. I have no interest in profiting from being here. It's one of the reasons that I took no salary as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Will not be profiting here.

I had considered the possibility of whether or not I could actually do it at no cost, to understand there's difficulties with doing it that way. But we'll also have difficulties, obviously, if I charge market rates. So I'm doing this at cost. As a result, it's actually going to be dramatically cheaper for us to do it at Mount Vernon compared to other final sites that we had.

Now, my guess is, with that official part of the briefing finished, there's going to be some questions about a variety of things that are going on in the world.

Q: "Yeah, thank you. So, how is this not just an enormous conflict of interest for you to host the French government at your own plantation?

MR. WASHINGTON: Okay, a couple different things. First off, I'm not making any profit. I think we've already established that. I think some —

Q: There's marketing and branding opportunities.

MR. WASHINGTON: It's a huge — I've heard — you know, I've heard that — I've heard that before. You know, I guess I've been the Chief Executive now for about three or four years, and I always hear: Whenever we go to the District of Columbia, it's a huge branding opportunity; whenever I go sleeping anywhere in New England. And everybody asks the question: Is it not a huge marketing opportunity?

I would simply ask you all to consider the possibility that George Washington's brand is probably strong enough as it is, and I don't need any more help on that. This is not like it's the most recognizable name in the English language and probably around the world right now. So, no, that has nothing to do with it.

That's why — listen, I was skeptical. I was. I was aware of the political, sort of, criticism that I'd come under for doing it at Mount Vernon, which is why I was so surprised when the advance team called back and said that this is the perfect physical location to do this.

So, I get the criticisms. Face it: I'd be criticized regardless of what I chose to do. But, no, there's no issue here on me profiting from this in any way, shape, or form.

Q: You said it's going to be done at cost. Do you have any idea of the cost estimate, how much money you're looking at?

MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah, I don't have the numbers in terms of the cost. I do know that it was — it was — one of the ones I saw was, it was almost half as much here. I don't want to butcher the numbers, but it was thousands of dollars cheaper by doing it at Mount Vernon than it was at another facility. And that was roughly fifty percent savings.

Q: Foreign Ministers have been visiting for decades, so how can you make the argument that this is the best place to hold it? Surely there were other places that this could be held. And you can't make the argument that you are not going to profit because we can't know how much you might profit in the future, right?

MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah. To your first point, again, I think the profit one. Again, I'm not making any money off of this, just like I'm not making any money from working here. And if you think it's going to help my brand, that's great. But I would suggest that I probably don't need much help promoting my brand, so we'll put the profit one aside and deal with a perfect place.

Q: I understand that you're trying to put it in a place that you think is the best.

MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah.

Q: And maybe save the taxpayers some money, which is important for all of us. But sometimes you — because of the appearance of impropriety, you don't make that call. Can you at least understand and acknowledge that just the appearance of impropriety makes this wince-inducing and maybe this is something that you want to reconsider?

MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah. I know that. Listen, I — I know the environment we live in. You all know the environment that we live in. And I know exactly that I'm going to get these questions and exactly get that reaction from a lot of people.

And I'm simply saying, "Okay, that's fine. I'm willing to take that." The same way I take it when I go to Valley Forge. The same when I go play at Washington, D.C. I got over that a long time ago. I absolutely believe this is the best place to have it. We're going to have it there. And there's going to be folks who will never get over the fact that it's a Washington property. I get that. But we're still going to go there.

Q: Aside from what your advance team did to look for the perfect place, what role did you play in selecting Mount Vernon, including getting it on the initial list of ten places in the first place?

MR. WASHINGTON: Yeah. I think we — that's a fair question. We sat around one night. We were back in the dining room and I was going over it with a couple of our advance team. We had the list, and I go, "What about Mount Vernon?" And everyone was like, "That's not the craziest idea. It makes perfect sense."

Q: About the Mount Vernon property: Why has no other Foreign Minister meeting ever been held there before?

MR. WASHINGTON: Because they didn’t go look at it. So —

I don't know, why did they have it at Federal Hall? I mean, seriously. I mean, for those of you who were there, I'm a little bit familiar with it; I've talked with the folks up at Federal Hall because I was up there recently and asked. I said, "Didn't you guys go up..." — I think it was Lafayette back then. Seventeen Eighty-Three, something like that. And they said it was a complete disaster. I'm like, "Okay, I wonder how that happened. How did that decision get made?"

Q: Just to show the American people that this is above board, are you going to share documents that show how you arrived at this decision with the Congress?

MR. WASHINGTON: No. But I would imagine we would share dollar figures with you afterwards. I mean, that's — that's ordinary course of business.

By the way, you're going to get this answer a lot, okay? I don't talk about how this place runs on the inside. So, if you ask if we — if you want to see our parchment on how we did this, the answer is: Absolutely not.

Q: There will almost certainly be a House Judiciary Committee hearing about this site selection.

MR. WASHINGTON: You think so?

Q: I really think so. Yeah. Will the administration participate, cooperate, with that?

MR. WASHINGTON: You know, that's a — by the way, that's a fascinating question. I had not thought that — that this would prompt a Judiciary Committee investigation. On one hand, I'm thinking to myself, "They don't have time to do it because they're too busy doing the two-party system." Right. And then I think to myself, "No, this is entirely consistent with how they've spent the first twenty-four months in office." Right? Or thirty-six months — however long they've been here. I guess it's been a few years, right?

That, yeah, they'd rather do that than talk about tax policy, than talk about tariffs, than talk about the Whiskey Rebellion; talk about the Jay Treaty. So, that's a fascinating question. I don't know if there will be a Judiciary Committee inquiry into this. My guess is there probably will be. And I look forward to participating in it.

Look, I know we can do this all night. No, I'm not going to take any more. But it's nice — it's nice to see everybody. Thanks again.

END

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In honor of Valentine's Day, today's blog post is about abortion.

There's been talk here in Georgia that the state legislature has been working on a new resolution to finally pass the long languishing Equal Rights Amendment. The local paper reported that one of the resolution's sponsors recently withdrew his support after talking with "people I know and people I trust" (who are, presumably two separate groups of people).

Before we go any further, to refresh your memory, this is the whole text of that very controversial proposed amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Equality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

That's simple enough. Why would someone want to go on record as being against that? To answer that question, I did a little Googling. You may be surprised to know that the Internet is full of opinions on the topic.

Some people say that the ERA isn't necessary because it duplicates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which promises "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." If that were true, women wouldn't have needed the 19th Amendment to cast votes.

Some people say that the ERA would prevent women from receiving favorable bias in paternity cases. They say it could also force women into the draft. Are either of these such a problem? I would hope that women would have to prove their fitness to be a parent in court. If a war is so damn important that we have to force our citizens into the armed forces, it seems to me that women should serve their country just as men do. (If the thought of your daughter going to war makes you think twice about the need for warfare, all the better.) And God forbid that anyone should have to use a uni-sex bathroom.

Some people say that the ERA is bad because it is just another example of the federal government stealing rights from the states. That's true. Granted, the "right" it would be stealing is the states' ability to treat women like second class citizens, but it's the principle of the thing!

However, the "people" who talked our representative out of supporting the ERA didn't use any of those arguments. No, the persuasive argument against guaranteeing women and men equal rights was — you guessed it — abortion. They said that if we give men and women true equality, they can no longer tell women what to do with their bodies. Horror of horrors!

Frankly, that strikes me as a bullshit reason to deny or abridge equal rights for women. I'm no girl or priest, and I'm generally pretty good at "keeping it in my pants," so I try to have no opinion on the subject, but the logic seems simple. If abortion is murder as the bumper stickers tell me, it should be illegal whether a man or woman is carrying a child. If it's not, then what difference does it make what gender does it? Neither case should have any bearing on whether women should have the same rights as men.

But what do I know? I try not to have an opinion, remember.

If you ask me, the best argument against the ERA is the existence of Valentine's Day itself. If women and men are so damn equal, someone should be buying *me* chocolates today, dammit.

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Believe it or not, I listened to the State of the Union speech live last night. Listened. Didn't watch. The difference is amazing.

Listening to him speak, I can understand how a significant portion of the country could believe the current White House occupant as he counted down the many, many ways that he, personally, all by himself, has made America the single greatest country in world history, a greatness that is as strong as he is yet fragile enough that it is in imminent danger of being destroyed by busloads of Mexicans. He genuinely sounded like he believed most of what he said, so why shouldn't we?

Answer: We shouldn't because most of it was made up lies. But if all you ever listened to was him or his echo chamber, you wouldn't know that.

Which reminds me of the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren," in which the starship Enterprise is being held hostage by an alien dictator who promises to make Dr. McCoy's dreams come true if he's willing to betray his crewmates. The dictator talks a good game, and McCoy is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good until Captain Kirk points out that the dictator is a vain lying liar. McCoy's mistake was in taking the dictator's own word for how awesome he was and what great plans he had for everyone, if only they could keep the rabble out.

We could all stand to pay a little more attention to Captain Kirk.

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I'll keep doing it until it works

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A bonus Superman post! This one's my update for the Superman-Nixon meeting we saw back on June 15.

The End is right

This was almost criminally too easy to write

I've titled it "Irony." Top that, Roy Lichtenstein!

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Spotted on Twitter:

Drunk History

This panel is about as accurate as anything else you might expect to find on the Internet, by which I mean it's not true. Nothing like this happened in a Superman comic. Not exactly like this, anyway. To see who Superman was really talking to, see "The Superman Super-Spectacular!" in Action Comics #309, 1964.

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Today was the Georgia Democrat/Republican primary election for state offices. On the flip side of that ballot were nonpartisan local elections. I didn't vote in any of them.

That wasn't a decision I made casually. I took my time and looked into the candidates. What I found was that my opinion of each of them didn't much matter. I'll take either Democratic candidate for Governor over any of the pro-NRA Republican options, so I'll let those who pay party dues pick the candidates I'll be voting for and against in November. Same goes for all the other statewide positions.

Of the few local races with incumbents not running unopposed, most are school board positions. I don't have children, and I'm not in school. If I did have a child, I wouldn't want disinterested parties like me butting into an election I had no stake in, so I'll do parents a favor and keep my biases to myself.

Therefore, if you don't mind, Georgia, I'll save my vote for later and vote twice in the general election. Thanks.

Just say no

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Here comes the judge!

I don't live in Forsyth County, but I like this guy's style, if not his spelling.

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Who wants a Walter health insurance update? No one? Well, you're getting one anyway.

As we all know, Georgia has done its best to destroy any healthcare options for poor individuals like me, and the Republicans controlling the federal government have, to their credit, only managed to make shit worse. So now, for the third year in a row, I have to scramble to figure out what my options are. Too bad no one else seems to know, either.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has withdrawn from offering individual plans where I live in Georgia, leaving me with only Kaiser Permanente (KP) HMO options available under the Affordable Care Act. The problem here is that I cannot keep my doctor, and no urgent care facility within 40 miles or hospital within 70 miles accept the Healthcare Exchange (HIX) plans. That's... not ideal. But it might still be my best choice. At least it theoretically pays for something if, say, I was hit by a bus in New York City.

Not that I have a lot of other choices. I have looked at some off-Marketplace plans, and they are really worthless. Twelve hundred dollars per year gets me a couple of urgent care visits and not much else. Compared to that, I might as well have no insurance and just pay the tax penalty ($695).

So the KP HIX HMO plan looks like the best option for me, though only so long as I make little enough to take advantage of the low-income subsidies. (Sweet spot catch-22: if I make a little more money, I'm priced out of health insurance, and as a male, I wouldn't qualify for Medicare in the state of Georgia even if I earned nothing at all.) It is my understanding that KP has to continue to offer me the subsidies discount if I qualify even though that asshole Trump has vowed not to reimburse them, essentially guaranteeing that next year I'll have no healthcare options at all.

I've been lucky so far, but I can't stay healthy forever, guys.

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To be continued...

 

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