The government is giving us $600!

A friend on Facebook recently posted “What’s everyone so upset about? The $600 check the government is giving us is better than zero, isn’t it?”

First thing you have to do is look at it this way: It’s our money. All the money the government has is ours. We can spend it on helping people when they need it most, or we can waste it on more giveaways to rich people and corporations who don’t need it, or to build a wall that does nothing to prevent illegal immigrants from coming here. (Those two things are in the bill, by the way. I am not making this up.)

Stop looking at this payment as a gift. It belongs to us. The government is us, not them. The money is ours.

Second thing is to realize how little this is and how this will make hardly a difference to people who are about to be evicted from their homes. We’re in a national tragedy right now, and the way to solve it (as other countries have proven) is to pay people enough so they can stay at home for a few months and not have to work. The virus only travels from person to person, and if you stay away from everyone else, it will eventually die.

This is not theoretical. Countries like New Zealand, that did this exact thing, is now open again. They’re even having public sporting events. Americans, however, have proven to be selfish (especially when the country’s leader is the most selfish man ever) and that’s why we’re worse off now than we were a year ago when we started quarantining and addressing this issue.

$600 is nothing. That won’t be enough to allow people to stay at home for months. This is a “Let them eat cake” amount.

Keep in mind that the Democrats proposed $2000 a month back in May. They’re still trying to increase that $600 to $2000, but even then it’s just a one-time payment. Republicans have lied and have claimed that it was the Democrats who passed the $600, but there is literally a Democratic bill on the floor today to increase that, and it’s up to the Republicans to do it (which they won’t).

Heard Immunity

Adam Zyglis

The Beatles “Get Back” film looks great!

There were over 50 hours of film recorded during the making of the “Let it Be” album, and the film LET IT BE tended to pick the parts that showed the band arguing instead of having fun with their music. Paul has repeatedly said that the film did not properly represent the group dynamics at the time, and, as someone who has been in a bunch of bands, let me tell you that there are always arguments. That’s just part of the process.

It doesn’t mean we don’t like our fellow band members or that we’re about to break up. I mean, I sometimes argue with my wife and I love her — of course I’m going to argue with my fellow band members.

They weren’t about to break up at that time. After all, after this was done, they worked together to create what I consider to be their greatest (and last) album ABBEY ROAD. Even then, there are recordings from that session where they were discussing what would be their next album after that!

So anyway, Peter Jackson is now recutting a new film from the old footage and he is making sure to show the fun part of making music as well as the arguments that go into arranging a song and deciding who plays what when and so on.

I’m enthusiastically looking forward to this, because as much as I am a Beatles fan, LET IT BE has never been the kind of film I want to watch over and over again. Maybe this one will be.

The Barr Legacy

8th Annual War on Christmas Contest

Merry War on Christmas, everybody!

Anger drives ratings, as Fox News is well aware. And that’s why they created the War on Christmas. Those poor Christians, being attacked and persecuted and treated terribly — how awful it must be to be a discriminated against majority. All those laws requiring people to never say “Merry Christmas” …  oh wait.

cartoon by Rob Tornoe

Every example Fox News gives for a “War on Christmas” always boils down to something like “They won’t let us force kids to sing our religious songs!” or “They say ‘Happy Holidays’ which acknowledges that not everyone is a Christian and therefore they are attacking us!” or “They are refusing to allow us to use their money (taxpayer dollars) for a religious display.”

So for eight years now, I have challenged anyone to give me an example of a real “attack on Christmas,” because every one of these examples is, in reality, fought in defense. You wouldn’t even hear about them if these particular Christians weren’t trying to require everyone to obey their beliefs.

Acknowledging other beliefs by saying “Happy holidays” does not diminish the belief in Christmas one bit. Those who complain are just mad that you aren’t treating them special. That’s hardly a war — it’s the temper tantrum spoiled kids get when you give attention to someone else.

Or else they’ll point out one misguided grinch who complains about a decoration or something as if that was evidence of a vast, coordinated attack. Last year, they trotted out an elementary school principal who, in an effort to avoid controversy, banned even secular representations of Christmas such as Santa Claus and Christmas trees. She changed her position once people complained, but that was hardly a “war on Christmas” as much as it was someone who understood that religion does not belong in a public school but mistakenly went too far.

And this in no way prevented any family from celebrating their religion in any way they wanted to on their own.

So there’s my yearly challenge: find me one example of anyone trying to prevent people from celebrating a religious Christmas. Just one.

I have a feeling I know what the result will once again be.

EDITED TO CLARIFY: I’m talking about the US only; clearly there is a war against various religions in other countries

(And yes, of course, just to clarify: #notallChristians)

Definition of insanity

Why Trump-appointed judges have ruled against him

Donald Trump knows nothing about how government works, and was clearly under the impression that all the judges he appointed would be loyal to him.

But now his lawsuits have had more than fifty losses and only one procedural win early on (having to do with forcing Pennsylvania to do something it was already doing, so it’s kind of moot). Judges from every state have ruled against the GOP’s attempt to destroy democracy. The Supreme Court twice (and swiftly) refused to hear the appeals and not one Justice filed a dissent.

And many of these judges were Trump-appointed.

And here’s why that happened:

The GOP has been filling the courts for years with right-wing ideologues, many of whom are deemed “unqualified” by the American Bar Association. These radical judges have done a great job in destroying many of our basic civil liberties and bending over backwards to give corporations wins.

But these people were nominated in the first place because they are (what I call in my Constitution book) “Constitutional Fundamentalists.” Like religious fundamentalists, they believe there is only one interpretation of their holy document and lo and behold, they know exactly what it is and it matches their own views perfectly.

Justice Scalia was one of the prime movers of this idea on the Supreme Court, believing not only that his view of what the Constitution was correct, but that everyone who disagreed with him was not only wrong but very likely evil as well. Fortunately, he no longer does this, primarily because he is dead, but his views live on.

These fundamentalist judges honestly believe that they are being fair in their decisions and are fanatics to the fantasy document that exists in their head. They don’t think they are interpreting the Constitution in any way, ignoring the fact that every decision a court ever makes about the Constitution is an interpretation. (If the Constitution was as clear as they believe, there would never be a need for a judge at all.)

This mindless refusal to acknowledge that other people’s views may be valid is typical of conservatives who are not known for their tolerance of anyone different, but it’s important to consider now — because these judges think they are doing the will of the founders in the same way religious fundamentalists believe they are doing the will of their god.

And that’s why these judges are never going to ignore that Constitution like the Trump lawsuits require. These suits have no basis in our laws, are completely frivolous, and ask the courts to ignore democracy and our system of elections completely and just hand over the presidency to the loser who wants to be a dictator.

These judges are fanatics for the Constitution, not for Trump. And that’s why he keeps losing.

Pardon?

The stupidest election lawsuit yet

Yesterday, the Trump election deniers lost their 50th case in their ridiculous quest to destroy democracy.

Here’s why it is so laughable.

The legislature here in Pennsyvania — which is still run by Republicans — last year passed the law allowing mail in ballots. Many of the GOP candidates urged their voters to use them. Not one complained about it or claimed the law they had passed was unconstitutional.

Suddenly they lose the state.

“The mail in ballots we passed and didn’t complain about for an entire year are unconstitutional!” they suddenly discovered. “Clearly, the only solution is throw every single one of these ballots out even though there was no fraud whatsoever and literally millions of voters would be disenfranchised.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court laughed that out of court, pointing out that not only was the lawsuit untimely but was clearly blatantly political. Not only that, even if the complaint was valid, the resolution suggested (throwing out all the mail-in ballots) was not reasonable.

The Trumpies appealed to the Supreme Court and within an hour, the case was denied with a one sentence statement and no dissenting comments from the court. (It should be noted that in order for the Supreme Court to decide to accept a case, you need at least three judges to agree — so at least one if not all three of the justices appointed by Trump voted to not take the case).

Of course, as I stated earlier, the real reason for all these cases is to raise money from the rubes. It has nothing to do with real law in any sense, which is why real lawyers have either refused to take these cases or have resigned as Trump’s attorneys — leaving us with Guiliani and his crew of slapstick-comedy rejects.

The latest attempt comes from Texas, whose motto is apparently “Don’t mess with Texas, but it’s perfectly fine for us to mess with you.” The Texas Attorney General has filed this case trying to throw out the results in only states Trump lost, with another vague accusation of something-wrong-but-no-one-seems-to-have-any-evidence-or-idea-exactly-what-it-is.

Since Republican ideology never actually stands for anything except money and power for them and their donors, the claim of “state’s rights” gets thrown right out the door in this blatant attempt for one state to interfere with the elections of another.

The Solicitor General of Texas — you know, the one who is supposed to argue these cases in the Supreme Court — has refused to participate, leaving Texas AG Ken Paxton to do all the work. You remember Paxton, right? The guy who is supposed to uphold the law who has been indicted for security fraud? Yes, that Paxton, whose real goal with this lawsuit is to impress Trump into giving him a pardon.

These criminals are so used to getting their way that they are astounded that the law is being applied to them.

Somebody’s poisoned the water hole!