Minority Rule

Last night sentators representing substantially less than half the country confirmed a Supreme Court justice appointed by a guy who lost the popular vote. Again.

So now 5 of 9 minority justices control the Court, which joins the Senate and Presidency as minority controlled.

I don’t think that’s out of spec for the Senate. We know that one of the founding ideals of the country was the protection of the minority from out-of-control majority rule (also the protection of the elite from the masses, but that’s a topic for another day). Both problems were solved by the Senate’s design.

But things have to change, our government hasn’t kept pace with the changing country.

Today the talk is about ‘court-packing’ and I’m sure that’s going to happen given the current climate and undemocratic methods used lately to appoint Justices.

Without a constitutional amendment we’ll end up with a court-sizing arms race. There’s no alternative anymore, but a change of that magnitude is going to bring some hard times for the republic.

As I see it, the main problem, and one that doesn’t fit into 140 characters (and therefore our political discourse), is the House. So rather than respond to every person online that suggests short term solutions to the problem I’m just going to rant about it here.

We know the framers didn’t mean for a static House. Article the First would have been adopted and fixed this but for administrative snafus. We could have had a whole different set of problems with 6,000 representatives (or more likely an amendment to fix the size somewhere between where we are and where we would have been). Instead we’re left with a popular body that doesn’t represent the population. Madison would say (again) that’s by design, but he also said:

Whilst all authority in [the government] will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority.

Federalist 52

Our country is more than a collection of fifty states. It’s a partnership of 330 million people, not all of whom are represented equally.

Fix that, and you fix the even-more-out-of-whack elector system. We should fix our republic by making it more democratic.

Posted in Politics at October 27th, 2020. No Comments.

Freezer

On March 24th, two days after I turned 47, I loaded our apartment-sized freezer into the back of our Subaru. It was a tight squeeze, but everything fit.

It was a big step. It meant we were leaving Brooklyn for a long time. It meant we weren’t planning on coming back until things settled down.

Even now I have a hard time remembering what those days were like. We didn’t know what was happening and we didn’t know what would happen.

No one was wearing masks yet, we didn’t know.

We suspected that things would be better in New Jersey. That we could go outside and take a walk, build a swing set, a playhouse. Plant a garden. Even though it meant two weeks self-quarantine it was worth it, we said.

We were right. We missed a lot in Brooklyn, but we had a better time. The kid had a better time.

That freezer lives in NJ now, but the new one – identical in every way – was just delivered to us in Brooklyn this morning.

One day shy of six months – it feels like we’re back, but we still don’t know what will happen.

Posted in Brooklyn, Parenting, Politics at September 23rd, 2020. Comments Off on Freezer.

Quarantine

That’s all I got. It’s been a very exhausting few months…

Posted in New York, Parenting, Politics at July 31st, 2020. Comments Off on Quarantine.

Democracy

Today was a dark day for a republic that’s had a lot of dark days lately…

Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump’s impeachment lawyers, pushed an extraordinarily expansive view of executive power during his trial on Wednesday, arguing that any action taken by the president to help his own re-election is, by definition, in the public interest.

“If the president does something that he thinks will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” said Mr. Dershowitz, a celebrity lawyer and constitutional law professor.

The New York Time, 01/29/20

Posted in Politics at January 29th, 2020. Comments Off on Democracy.

As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore

We must respond, but the character of that response will determine for us and for our children the world that they will inherit. I do not dispute the president’s intent to rid the world of terrorism — but we have many means to reach that goal, and measures that spawn further acts of terror or that do not address the sources of hatred do not increase our security.

Representative Barbara Lee

Posted in Politics at September 11th, 2018. Comments Off on As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.

Still Relevant

Posted in Music, Politics at December 13th, 2017. Comments Off on Still Relevant.

Twitter

I quit twitter an hour ago and I already don’t know what to do with myself.

Posted in Politics at December 12th, 2017. Comments Off on Twitter.

Sanders

Editors note: it looks like this was written in Febuary, in Curaçao on vacation.  I found it in my drafts, and it was probably something I was screwing around with on the patio holding my laptop at a funny angle to get wifi so I could watch a primary debate.  Just me writing down what I wish he had said as I’m wont to do. Whatever problems it has, and it has problems, I don’t really care about anymore.  It’s not groundbreaking, but it somehow encapulates issues and a time that I find funny, sad, and ancient today – ten and a half months and a lifetime later.  So it’s going up.  This election could have been about great things, wonderful ideas that made the world a better place.

You asked me to rank the main threats to our country, I’m not going to do that.

I think that such a simplistic answer to a soundbite question not only puts this country at risk, but ties the hands of the next president.

No one would argue that Secretary Clinton is the country’s best choice to manage the foreign affairs of our country.  She was in the White House for eight years, served as a senator and Secretary of State.  Her credentials are beyond question. I hope that she’ll join my administration.

If you think that our chief threats are foreign actors then she is the obvious choice to be our next president.

I believe that those who paint the world as a place of only threat are trying to scare you.

Many of our bogymen are self created.  If we engage in a real way with other countries, rather than just ranking them on some sort of ‘threat matrix’ we might have a better chance of living in a more peaceful world.  Remember that we created ISIS by causing a power vacuum in the Middle East.  Our support of Israel in opposition of true democracy has destabilized the region for over half a decade.

We should stop meddling in the affairs of the world and focus on our values.

However I believe that the greatest threat to our republic is not a foreign power somehow disturbing the domestic tranquility: after all we spend more than the next eight nations combined in the name of defense.  Rather I think that our greatest threat comes from within.  Our nation’s very values are under siege by the financial industry and the accumulation of wealth that it creates.  The top 1% our country now controls the top 99% of our wealth.  The Republicans want you to believe that a tax on people leaving over $5 million of wealth to their  estates constitutes a ‘death tax’. Think about that: one of their main concerns is for people dying with over $5 million.  Corporations are now people and it costs over a billion dollars to become president. Why does it cost so much money if nothing’s for sale? Why are so many people clamoring to offer me money for speeches if they don’t think I’ll help them.

I want real change to come to our country, but not disruptive change: a return to American values.

Let’s focus on the things that have made America great.  A true middle class, a spirit of working together and politics that stop at our borders.  We’ve never been in a stronger position, and yet our leaders continue to say that we need to be great ‘again’.

I say we’re great now.  We’ve just forgotten that we need to be great together.

 

Posted in Politics at December 19th, 2016. Comments Off on Sanders.

For Brian Haw

This song by the XX Teens came up on random today, and I couldn’t find the spoken-word section by Brian Haw anywhere online.

I wrote it down. It feels like it should be somewhere.

good afternoon
i came here nearly six and a half years ago, second of June 2001.
i came here because i discovered what my country was doing to the children,
the children of iraq, the children of the world.
it’s called infanticide, genocide, torture, looting of nations.
bloody mess,
and I’m responsible.
see I happened to be born in Britain in a place called Woodford, Essex,
and my country’s doing this,
and I came because I couldn’t live with it,
because as a dad who loves his kids,
and this lady, this wonderful lady, who is the mother of my children,
i was taught a lot of good things in this country
and I was taught about fairness at my mother’s knee.
we know what’s right!
we have to stand up and do and be what’s right, don’t we?
I do, you do, each one of us does.
I’m an old man now of 58, I’ve been quite a few places,
and I’ve been a seaman, I’ve been an engineer, I’ve been a builder.
I used to make fine furniture,
done quite a few different things.
I’ve probably sat where you sat, I’ve probably done your work.
I probably understand you.
And you, with your experience and your knowledge, use it to know and say what’s right.
You are you, and I’m me, and we’re each individuals aren’t we?
And I talk too bloody much,
so it’s over to you now, what are you doing to do about it?
Ok?
Thank you.

Posted in Music, Politics at March 23rd, 2016. Comments Off on For Brian Haw.

Meanwhile in the rest of the world…

Turkish soldiers fired over their heads, and Silva, opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out.

They have been trying to make her laugh ever since.

 

Posted in Politics at October 23rd, 2015. Comments Off on Meanwhile in the rest of the world….