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Laelth

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Wills Point, TX
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:36 PM
Number of posts: 30,245

About Me

I am a native Georgian who's currently hiding out in Texas. I am a liberal, and I am extremely proud of the imperfect (but evolving) republic that we call the United States of America.

Journal Archives

One day at a time. Let today be a good day.

Without putting too fine a point on it, I think it’s safe to say that the situation in which we currently find ourselves SUX.

The USPS is being sabotaged, right in front of our eyes, and it appears that there’s nothing that we can do about it. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and we have no national strategy to deal with it. In fact, our government seems bound and determined to make matters worse—insisting on opening schools, businesses, and whatever else might aid in the rapid transmission of a deadly virus. Some 30+ million Americans are unemployed, and their supplemental benefits just ran out with nothing to replace them. Some 25+ million Americans are facing eviction, and the moratorium on evictions just expired with no likelihood that it will be reinstated in the near future. A lunatic is in control of the nation’s nuclear codes, and he has declared that any election in November THAT HE DOESN’T WIN will be deemed fraudulent and invalid. Our very republic is being jeopardized by the person who is charged with running it. We have widespread civil unrest across the country—even in our smaller cities and towns. We’re in the deepest depression we have seen since the 1930s, and nobody with any power can do anything about it. Congress isn’t even in session. Our divided government can not alleviate the economic calamity that any sane person can easily see coming. This just SUX.

And it’s taking a serious toll on my emotional health. I suspect that many of you are in the same boat, so here’s what I suggest. It’s not much, but it’s something that is well-worth celebrating.

Today, at least, I am just going to focus on the first night of the DNC and celebrate how beautiful the Democratic Party has become over the years that I have been watching it evolve.

When I joined DU in 2004, we were considered the liberal-left fringe of the party. Now, most of our beliefs, our ideals, and our policy positions are considered mainstream. DU didn’t change—not much, anyway. The Democratic Party has changed, and it is a joy to behold.

Enjoy the convention, my friends and allies. Feel free to shed a few tears. I know I will.



-Laelth

In what year did you become politically "sentient?"

By “politically sentient” I mean cognizant of the fact that politics was a meaningful “thing,” that there were various political parties, that these parties had different agendas, that voting mattered, and that people disagreed, sometimes vehemently, on this topic.

It was 1980, and I was 13, so I couldn’t vote at that age, but I became aware, for the first time, that politics mattered to most of the adults in my life, and they often disagreed. I felt that I had to choose, and I did. As a native Georgian in 1980, it was fairly easy for me to support James Earl Carter, Jr. I didn’t start voting until 1986, but I can proudly say that I have never voted for a Republican in my life. That time—that moment in history—that initial emergence of “political sentience” made all the difference for me as a political person.

I would be curious to hear your own, unique stories. When did you become “politically sentient?” How did that historical moment affect your politics?



-Laelth

I would prefer for Biden to choose a black or Latinx man.

Given that he is determined to choose a woman, I think that costs us 2-3% points in the general election, right off the bat. In my opinion, Americans are more sexist than they are racist, for better or for worse. If Biden chooses a white woman, I think that will cost us another 1-2% of the national vote, for a total of -3 to -5% of the vote. If Biden chooses a black woman, I think that gains us about 2-3% in the national vote (due to a massive increase in voter enthusiasm), for a total of +/-0%.

Personally, I hope he chooses a black woman, and I hope he chooses Karen Bass.

That said, I think he could choose Betty Boop and still win in November 2020.

-Laelth

DICTATORSHIP

Mark your calendar. This day, August 7, 2020, the 233-year-old republic known as the United States of America ceased to be a republic and transformed into a dictatorship.

OK. Perhaps that’s a little hyperbolic. Perhaps I am over-reacting. If so, please talk me down, but I see what I see, and it’s not good.

Using the breakdown in negotiations over a stimulus package as his excuse, President Trump has declared that he must AND WILL govern by executive order (fiat) in order to address the multiple emergencies that this nation now faces. My position is that he can actually do it if he has the backing of his cabinet and the Republican Party. I suspect he will try.

What happens if Trump orders Secretary Mnuchin to issue stimulus checks to the American people. Mnuchin has the power to do it. He’s the Secretary of the Treasury. That’s where all the stimulus money originates. If he does what he is told, Congress’ power over the purse will be cut. If he refuses on the basis that the President lacks the power to appropriate money, he could save the republic. Which way do you think Mnuchin is going to go? If he follows the President’s orders, we will be living in a dictatorship. Who needs Congress if the President can control the nation’s purse?

John Woo has been telling the President that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on DACA gives the President the right to craft law by executive order. Naturally, this is exactly what Trump wants to hear. Who needs Congress if the President can write laws? Trump declared today that he intended to address multiple, national emergencies via executive order. If his agents (members of the executive branch of the federal government) carry out those orders, which they might, without regard to Congress, then we will be living in a dictatorship. All the incentives for cabinet ministers, upper-level (political) bureaucrats, and Republicans, in general, favor backing and implementing executive orders that distribute stimulus money, extend housing moratoriums, provide supplemental unemployment insurance, and defer student loans.

Trump, it appears, intends to govern by fiat. He intends to blame recalcitrant Democrats for “forcing” him to do so. If his executive branch officials and the Republican Party (generally) back him in this dramatic seizure of power, I can not see what we could do to stop it.

I quote Benjamin Franklin. “Congratulations! It’s a republic, if you can keep it.” I suppose 233 years isn’t bad.



-Laelth

I wonder what the average age of our speakers at the convention will be.

A Politico article from today “leaks” the current, proposed line-up for virtual speakers at the Milwaukee Democratic National Convention, here:

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/07/who-will-speak-at-dnc-392533

On the list:
Jill Biden
John Kasich
Hillary Clinton
Bill Clinton
Bernie Sanders
Michelle Obama
Elizabeth Warren
Barack Obama
Kamala Harris
Joe Biden (obviously)

I have to wonder what the average age of these speakers (our leaders) might be. We are blessed with a deep bench, but I am disappointed to see that we are not featuring some of our younger stars. We have them. At least one of them needs to be featured at our convention.

It’s no wonder that young people don’t vote. If our convention lineup is any indication, it appears that we are not listening to young people. It appears that we are not interested in what they have to say.

Thoughts?

-Laelth

An ellipsis (three periods) indicates that one or more words have been omitted.

That’s all it ever means. Treat it like any other word. It’s never attached to another word. There’s always a space on either side, unless the ellipsis is the last word in a sentence in which case it is followed immediately by the punctuation that ends the sentence.

Eg.: I can’t believe ...! (In this case the omitted words might be “what I just saw.”)

Eg.: I can’t believe ... how stupid that is! (In this case the ellipsis might indicate the omitted words “for the life of me.”)

Your usage in your first example is inappropriate (or, so it seems) because I can not determine what words may have been omitted that are indicated by the ellipsis. All you need there is a comma.

Eg.: As the man walked, he looked for his dog.

-Laelth

Do we have herd immunity to the common cold?

Do we have a vaccine for the common cold? A coronavirus is much more like a common cold than influenza or any other disease we have attempted to control. The coronavirus is a type of common cold that is more contagious and packs a much more severe punch. Sometimes, the punch can be deadly. I think that Dr. Osterholm is right. SARS-CoV-19 isn’t going away. Eventually, we’re going to have to learn to live with it.

-Laelth

This is what Karen Bass was doing today.



Note the strength and confidence. Biden-Bass has a nice ring to it.



-Laelth

What would happen if Trump tried to arrest the Governor of Oregon?

Recently, Uncle Vlad, in Moscow, arrested Sergei Furgal, the elected Governor of Khabarovsk, a region in Far-Eastern Russia, and had him shipped off to Moscow for “questioning” (and, probably, re-education). To their credit, the displeased people of Khabarovsk have been demonstrating in the streets for about a week over this assault upon their local sovereignty.

But what would happen in the United States if Trump decided he wanted to arrest a Governor—for example, that uncooperative and ungrateful Governor in Oregon who is a little peeved about unidentified (and unwelcome) federal agents arresting and questioning her citizens?

Here, the idea is laughable. Trump can’t arrest a governor. Trump wouldn’t even try it. It would never work. Mercifully, our outrageously unwieldy republic is HIGHLY resistant to totalitarianism. The states remain supreme.

It’s almost funny. These days you see governors telling the President to piss off (Michigan). You see mayors telling governors to piss off (Atlanta), and you see local school boards telling county commissioners to piss off (Orange County). This is one of those times when I can really appreciate the beauty of this ridiculously complicated, power-diffused (decentralized) system of government that we have.



-Laelth

Imagine that you are the Governor of CA.

You control your state’s elections. The President can’t stop you, so you will hold your election, no matter what the lunatic in the White House says. You will certify your electoral votes, and they will then vote in the electoral college (for Biden, presumably).

Now, imagine that you are the Governor of TX. Your party leader, the lunatic in the White House, has told you that you should not hold an election. He has no power to stop you from holding an election, but, for whatever reason, that’s clearly what he wants. For your part, you know that your state will have NO SAY in selecting the next President if you don’t hold an election. Even worse, your state will have NO MEMBERS in the House of Representatives if you don’t hold an election. You’ll also lose one Senate seat. What will you do? You will hold an election, no matter what the lunatic in the White House says.

The idea that there will be no November 2020 election is absurd. The election will happen. Nobody has the power to stop it. Our Constitution actually works fairly well.

-Laelth

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