We have the money!

The United States is the richest damn country on the planet. We can afford it. 

Republicans constantly complain that we can’t afford health care coverage for all, or dozens of other programs that we, the people, could use to make our lives better. Yet somehow they always find money for the things they want…uncle sam money

One estimate says that if we had a national health care program, it would cost $600 billion. Wow! That’s a lot of money! “We could never afford that!” say Republicans.  (Oh, in a completely unrelated matter, here’s an article about how Republicans today passed a bill giving the military $700 billion this year.)

We apparently have an infinite budget when it comes to defending Americans against foreign attacks, but a minor one for protecting us against illness and disease.

Another study shows that if we just raised taxes on the super-wealthy back to levels we had under President Eisenhower, we’d gain $276 billion a year right there.

The fact is that we have the money — we’re like a family that has said, “Sorry, kids, we can’t afford to get your teeth fixed because we have spent all our money on these 30 cars we don’t need and gave the rest to your rich uncle.”

 

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You can support the nazis’ rights without supporting nazis

A Facebook pal angrily defriended me this past weekend because I said it was possible to defend the rights of nazis while still being against them.

We have to protect speech we hate. Speech we all agree with doesn’t need protection. the 1st Amendment is meaningless if we decide speech limitations based on the content of that speech.alt evil

Now let me clarify: I am talking about speech, not action. Clearly, you do not have the right to speech that causes a “clear and present danger” for instance. (This is the old Supreme Court example about yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater and causing a stampede and a riot.)

This is why I have absolutely no problem with laws restricting guns at rallies. While it is true that some states allow open carry, you don’t have that right under the Constitution (which is why many states don’t allow open carry). You don’t have the right to take a gun anywhere you please any more than you have the right to speak wherever you please. I see no problem with a state saying that anyone who brings a weapon to a rally can be arrested. That’s not speech.

Yes, of course, their speech is hateful, but do you trust our government to make that distinction — to decide what speech is considered hateful and what isn’t? Especially this current administration? If they had their way, they’d make speech against Trump illegal.

Once the government decides “This speech is prohibited but this speech is not” they are opening a door that will be used against our speech next.

I am not taking the side of these nazis. Anyone who reads this blog should be well aware of that. I am taking the patriotic side of Freedom of Speech.

Mind you, this freedom doesn’t mean these nazis should not face counter-protests, should be listened to, should be given any respect whatsoever. I am completely in favor of these people being outed, losing their jobs, and being harassed for their hate. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of that speech.

The latest anti-Hillary lies about that DNC lawsuit

First, a disclaimer: I supported Bernie in the primaries, and believe that had he won the nomination, he may very well be President today. But that’s an issue for another day.

Some rabid Bernie people (perhaps spurred on by Trump people behind the scenes who troll liberal pages and try to get us fighting each other) are making absurd claims about the recent lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee.

Basically, the lawsuit was filed by some Sanders supporters.  I’ll summarize their argument here:  “Waah! The Democrats were mean to us!”bernie-and-hillary

Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that. What they said was that the leaders of the Democratic party were biased against Bernie and were doing what they could to make sure he didn’t get the nomination. The lawsuit complained that the DNC worked behind the scenes to schedule debates in a way that helped Clinton; that the people in charge supported her; that they planned events in ways that harmed Sanders. (The lawsuit did not claim — nor could it — that any laws were broken.)

Oh noes! Whoever thought there would be politics in politics!

Setting aside the problem of an outsider suddenly joining a group and demanding to be in charge of it and how that group would react, the lawsuit faced its first challenge that all lawsuits face: A Motion for Summary Judgment.

This is where the defendant in the case (the DNC) tries to get the case thrown out. The law requires the judge to say “assuming the plaintiff’s recitation of the facts is true, is there a claim for action here?” In other words, just because you may claim to be hurt doesn’t mean the law provides a remedy.

The judge rightly concluded that there was no case here and threw it out. Instantly, memes and blog posts started popping claiming that the judge found that everything the plaintiffs claimed was true. That’s not how it works.

The Democratic party is a private organization. They can set whatever rules they want for picking their candidate. The don’t have to have primaries (and in fact, many states have a caucus instead). They don’t have to sponsor debates. They can go back to the old days of choosing candidates in smoke-filled rooms (although being Democrats, it would be in a “smoking not permitted, have some latte and a croissant” room).

Don’t like it? Join the party and work to have the rules changed, instead of, you know, being an independent for your entire political career, joining the party just in time to run for office, and then quitting the party again as soon as you lose.

Did the DNC violate its own internal rules? Very likely. But that’s an internal problem they need to deal with — it’s not subject to a lawsuit.

So if you see someone claiming that the judge found that everything in the plaintiff’s lawsuit was true, they’re either completely unaware of how lawsuits work or else they are aware and are lying to you.