Category Archives: democracy

to my friend’s friend on Facebook, who thinks Donald Trump is morally superior to Hillary Clinton

I don’t know you, and it’s probably not worth engaging, but I would say you clearly need more information.

I recommend today’s Washington Post editorial, but it’s very long with words of more than two syllables, and would take a lot of concentration.  It’s boldly called, “Donald Trump is a Unique Threat to American Democracy.” But the currently available piece on the New Yorker Radio Hour by the fellow who ghost-wrote The Art of the Deal is also available, and you can just listen. (When you hear the two different voices, that is the female interviewer and the male writer, so don’t be confused about that.)

While you’re thinking about this, when you aim to disqualify Hillary Clinton because she is allegedly married to an adulterer, does the known adultery of candidate Trump trouble you? If not, how do you hold both of those ideas in your head at one time?

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living in a crafty world — glue-sticking together for reproductive rights

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Today at the Supreme Court the ruckus was all about whether that nasty Obamacare tromps on the rights of corporations (non-humans) to deny preventive health-care, specifically in the form of drugs and devices that prevent pregnancy, to employees (humans) who happen to work there. A better solution would be to uncouple health insurance completely from employment and move to universal health-care coverage as many other countries have, and as the Affordable Care Act begins to do. Until then, here we are, where under the cover of religion, a “boss” can play doctor.

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I happened to be with a “faith-based” group, singing liberation- and spiritual-type songs, and bearing signs suggesting that people — and corporations! — just mind their own business regarding the reproductive organs of others. We feel this way quite strongly, as a matter of intellectual conscience, which the Hobby Lobby craft store people must understand is at least as valid as strong feelings that come from the Bible, which does not mention IUDs at all, not even once.  As I walked past the long line of folks hoping to get inside to hear the opinion, two called out trying to shame me, but mostly the crowd gave the thumbs up and much more audible forms of support.

Here’s hope that Antonin Scalia will reread that thing he wrote about how it was ok to disallow use of peyote, because not every silly thing that people do can fall under the umbrella of protected religious behavior. People just gotta go with the program sometimes! Hunt down this story by searching with the words “Scalia” and “peyote,” and you will find many sources.

Links about today’s cases: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/03/19/3416214/religious-groups-birth-control-coverage/

It’s voting time again in the District — in Gray and green(back)

Although Tony Benn, the British politician who died earlier today, said a lot of things worth remembering, my personal favorite is his list of questions we should ask anyone in authority: “What power do you have?; Where did you get it?; In whose interests do you exercise it?; To whom are you accountable; and, How can we get rid of you?”

— D.D. Guttenplan in The Nation http://www.thenation.com/blog/178863/tony-benn-best-prime-minister-britain-never-had

If the quote above betrays me as a little down on this little civitas we’re operating here, it’s because where I live, here in Washington, DC, it’s time to vote, and it’s just not pretty.

Up for selection are the mayor, several council member seats and a couple of others that have no real value at all — “shadow” positions.*  The mayor we have is expected to be indicted any day now, following on that of the fellow who now says, why yes, he did in fact contribute illegal funds to his campaign in 2010, and to lots of others too. The mayor, named “Gray” (though we District residents would rather have this resolved in black and white, thanks) denies wrongdoing, and therefore, all knowledge of the daily machinations of his campaign.

We’re in a tough position here, where the crimes committed are the white-collar greenback money type.  You could argue that no one was materially hurt — no bridges were blocked (see Christie); no drugs ingested (see Barry); no citizens executed (see every elected official in Texas).

But our feelings and our sense of civic integrity have been hurt — again.

And despite the high dysfunctionality, a whole dais of contenders want the job for themselves.

Here’s another issue.  Because almost all the voters here are registered as Democrats, the primary is where all the action is, and this year — who decided this? — it falls on April 1. Between April and November, the Democratic victor would normally stand around waiting for the routine general election to become official-hyphen-elect, then primp for a January inauguration. This year, though, expect some busier times for the political writers.  There may be more accusations and indictments, candidates who get the silver or bronze (or don’t medal at all) in April may find spiffy new personalities to run as Independents in November, joined by a few fresh new/recycled faces for the general.

* If you live in DC, and are an established political philosopher who can explain to me a theoretical and rational reason for being bothered with this, bring it on.