The Big Picture

Robert Reich likes to draw cartoons.

I’m on one of his e-mail lists, and early this morning I got a message that contains a link to a video of him drawing a really big one (ca. 6½ minutes) explaining how the economy got into the state that it’s in.

That was cute; but there should be an image, like maybe a JPEG, of the completed drawing so that we can see the whole thing all at once.  It doesn’t matter if it’s huge:  it would be good to be able to scroll around and zoom in/out.

U.S. Sanctions on West-Bank Israelis

16:00 UTC−6:  DW News leads with a report that Biden has signed an executive order imposing economic sanctions on four named Israelis who were involved in anti-Palestinian violence in the West Bank.  I see this as a baby step in the right direction.  We’ll see whether U.S. policy toward Israel develops any morality.  Stay tuned…

16:30−6:  BBC World News America leads with the same story.

17:10:  my local TV news has a couple of sentences about the sanctions.  They say it’s in response to the killing of a Palestinian-American teenager.

17:30:  no mention of the sanctions on NBC Nightly News.

18:00:  nothing about the sanctions during the headlines on PBS Newshour either.

Now I’m saddened again.  NBC did have a short report about a growing movement within the Arab-American community for sitting out the next election.  They won’t vote for Trump, but they don’t think they can vote for Biden either.  Let’s hope that that doesn’t give the election to Trump.  Maybe there’s some good news in John Morales’ comment below.

More on Trump and Colorado

I seem to be getting all my news on this from Mike the Mad Biologist.

A comment reports that the Supreme Court has denied certiorari (they won’t be hearing the case), which means that the Colorado decision stands; but a comment on my previous post suggests that the Colorado ruling includes a stay that’s permanent if the case is appealed.

It’s about half an hour until my Monday-Friday TV news routine begins.  We’ll see whether DW News, BBC World News America, my local news, NBC Nightly News or PBS Newshour confirms the certiorari denial and whether that means that the Colorado decision is permanently stayed or is in effect since the appeal failed.

In any event, the ruling affects the primary election, not the general election; and I read somewhere else (I can’t remember where) that Colorado Republicans are already talking about having a caucus instead of an election so there won’t be a ballot for Trump to be kept off of.

I’m making a trip to the grocery store tomorrow.  I’ll definitely be buying some popcorn.

05:30 UTC−6:  oops, it turns out that I totally misunderstood.  The question that SCOTUS declined to weigh in on was whether POTUS has immunity from prosecution on the insurrection charge, so an appeals court will decide that first.  This was reported as a minor victory for Trump because that other case could go on for quite a while.

We don’t know anything more about Colorado after all.  (I’m in the mood for some popcorn anyway.)

Could Trump Be Disqualified?

I’m on an e-mail list from Robert Reich, and I got an interesting message this evening that included:

On Friday, Denver District Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled that Donald Trump “acted with the specific intent to disrupt the Electoral College certification of President Biden’s electoral victory through unlawful means; specifically, by using unlawful force and violence.”

She concluded with this finding of fact:  “Trump incited an insurrection on January 6, 2021 and therefore ‘engaged’ in insurrection.”


It’s the first official legal finding that Trump participated in an insurrection.

That would normally disqualify Trump from holding any public office in the U.S. under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment; but Reich reports that Wallace performed some legal “somersaults” in order to interpret the amendment in such a way that Trump could still be on the ballot because the 14th says that it applies to those who took an oath to “support” the Constitution, but the oath that Trump took was to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution.  (Yes, really.)  But Reich also writes “… appellate courts do not defer to district court interpretations of law or the Constitution.”

This will certainly go all the way to SCOTUS.  Stay tuned…

The New Speaker of the House

FtB already has plenty going on about Johnson (R-obviously) [Mano, PZ]; and I won’t repeat any of that; but I was taken by one possible dystopia in which all of our corporate media maybe have only short bullet lists of Johnson’s looney bits at the ends of stories that are mostly about how the Republicans “got it together.”  I had planned to watch a bunch TV news shows to see how that’s playing out so far.

PBS’ World Channel has an english language broadcast from DW News at 4:00PM my time (UTC−5).  They’re usually more concerned about what’s going on in Europe, but they did have a short story about the new speaker that contained the expected bullet list at the end, and they lumped a lot together under the rather bland “conservative Christian” label.  (Maybe that’s a red flag for Europeans—I don’t know.  It doesn’t sound particularly ominous to us US folk until you’re reminded of all the various bits of it.)

Unfortunately, I hadn’t slept well last night, and I had to get up early for a normally 35-minute drive (but during the morning rush hour today) to the hospital for the beginning of my third round of chemo drips; so by the time that BBC World News America came on, this old fart had to take a nap for about an hour, expecting to skip the BBC show and my local TV news.  When I woke up, all the news was over; but I stayed up for the World Channel’s repeat of PBS NewsHour and the local news on my NBC affiliate.

PBS NewsHour covered the speaker vote only during the initial “headline” part of the show, but that can often expand on particular stories.  This time was mostly Lisa Desjardins talking about how Johnson is “well thought-of among Republicans”; and she also grouped a lot together as “conservative Christian.”  (She did eventually break out the LGBTQ+ and abortion issues, but there was no mention of, e.g., creationism or Christian nationalism, the latter being particularly scary for me.)

There was also an interview asking a Republican representative some softball questions.  She wants to “keep the government open” and described Johnson as humble and one who puts the best interests of the country ahead of party (I’m not making that up).  We’ll see…

That was it.

I was hoping that my local TV news, after the leads that bleed, might have a bit from NBC News about the House vote, but no such luck.

My Story

I just watched a really interesting video that Abe Drayton posted on his blog, a lecture by Tim Wise that was mostly about white supremacy.  Two of his points jumped out at me:

– We have a systemic problem.  It’s not that ordinary folks like you and me are bad people (although there’s some of that), but that the system itself has been designed in a way to allow the majority of folks to avoid even noticing all the inequities in society because they’ve had the advantage of never having it affect their own lives in any serious way (and as a cis, het, white, male boomer, I’m one of ’em).

– Later in the talk, maybe during the Q&A, he reminded us that debunking goofy ideas with facts isn’t particularly effective because the people with the strange ideas just double down.  He suggested that what’s more effective is something that connects with individuals, basically storytelling.

So let me begin with a story from when I was about seven years old; and now that I’m seventy-seven (or will be tomorrow), I still remember it.

We were living in Delray Beach, Florida which, in the early 1950s, was still racially segregated.  I remember us driving home one night after visiting some of my parents’ friends; and at one point, we passed a pedestrian about whom my dad remarked, “He’s going to be in trouble.”  I asked why, and it wasn’t because the guy was obviously inebriated, but because he was Black; and there was a law back then that Black folks had to be in “colored town” after dark.  Even at age seven, I recognized the asymmetry (to put it mildly), although I wouldn’t have had the vocabulary back then to express that.

Tying that in to the first point I mentioned, I guess I’ve long been aware of the evils of racism because I learned something about it at an early age (even though I was in no danger myself); but I didn’t become aware of other systemic inequities until much later.  Just two examples:  I didn’t recognize the unfairness of sexism, and didn’t become a feminist, until I was in my thirties; and I had no clue about LGBTQIA+ issues until about a decade ago; in both cases because I simply had no need to notice.

There are some signs these days that maybe we’re starting to notice, and that gives me a little hope.  At least I hope I never stop learning.

It Never Changes

I read this morning:

… wisdom and virtue are by no means the sole objects of respect; nor vice and folly, of contempt.  We frequently see the respectful attentions of the world more strongly directed towards the rich and the great, than towards the wise and the virtuous.  We see frequently the vices and follies of the powerful much less despised than the poverty and weakness of the innocent.

— Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, p.74

No change for almost three centuries, and I’d guess much longer than that.

I Voted

This boomer always votes in every election, even for the mythical “dog catcher”…civic duty don’tcha know.  Today was easy since there were only two items on my ballot.

1. An additional 3% sales tax on recreational, not medical, marijuana.

I have nothing against marijuana; indeed, I used it myself when I was much younger; but I often vote for taxes just to counter the votes of folks who automatically vote “no” on any question that has “tax” in it.  Yeah, sales taxes are regressive; but folks who have actual prescriptions won’t have to pay it.

2. Lindbergh School Board — five candidates for three positions.

School board elections are important, and not entirely because we want to keep fundies off of them.  I voted for an actual teacher who has endorsements from organizations with “equity” in their names, a guy who uses various versions of “inclusive” among his issues, and a guy who likes teachers and thinks that they should get a raise.  I declined to vote for a “human resources” manager (don’t get me started) and a guy with “parental rights” as one of his issues (possibly a dog whistle about cancelling non-cis-het folks and removing from the history curriculum any mention of race).