January 20th, 2018

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#45 at 1: Responding to Mollie Ziegler Hemingway

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Sunday Jan 21 1 p.m. at Basilica of St. Mary Minneapolis MN, Refugee Stories: Refugee Stories002. Immigration data: A Case for Solidarity001

Picture an eagle flying with only a single wing, or with simply a head…. photo by Dick Bernard, October, 2008, at dedication of gift by Mary Lou Nelson at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

I subscribe to the Washington Post (and New York Times). (Side comment: see the new flick, “The Post“, which we saw last weekend. Worth the time…mostly about the olden days, as in 1971….)

This mornings WaPo is full of commentary about #45’s first anniversary in office, which happens to coincide with the first day of the Government Shutdown, which doubtless you’ve heard about. I want to take a moment to respond to one column in today’s post by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, “I wasn’t a Trump supporter. I am now.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway? I didn’t know who she was, either. So I did what I usually do, a google: here.

Three of my four children are older than she is, which is no problem for me. I’ve already told my kids that the future is in their generations hands, for good or ill. Mollie is apparently about 43, about the age of Teddy Roosevelt and John Kennedy when they were elected. (Donald Trump was the oldest at time of election of any President – 70 – to me, “just a kid”.)

I recommend a read of Mollie’s column, as a source of information. I do not support her conclusions.

Every since I’ve published this blog (since March, 2009) I’ve identified myself as stated at right: “Dick Bernard is a moderate pragmatic Democrat who speaks from his heart in matters of family, justice and peace.” I’m comfortable with that label. I’m not uncomfortable with occasionally being called “progressive” or even “socialist”, though those labels are often dispensed as if I’m something evil. I’m not, just someone who cares about this community which is called Planet Earth and everyone on it.

I say “planet” and not “country”, since “country” is much too limiting, and almost obsolete.

As things have evolved, it no longer fits to identify oneself as ruler of his “cave” (a contemporary term – living “off the grid”); or even “city-state”; or even increasingly large divisions of geography. From time to time appear rulers who think they can control, and sooner than later they are punished accordingly. Hitler tried for a 1,000 year Reich, and got about ten years. “States Righters” pine for the old days (which really never existed). Grover Norquist has had a pretty good run to date, with “drowning government in a bathtub” or words very much to that effect, for individual “freedoms” sake.. Make people despise their government, and success is closer….

Within the complexities of conversations involving over 7 billion people, there are some general worries that I have.

My greatest concern with the mindset of the Mollie’s of the World is the potential catastrophic problem of a minority (really a small minority) attempting to dominate and control the rest of the population through means we all have had an opportunity to notice.

We know about the efforts now ongoing to pack the federal courts with “conservative” judges whose terms go on for years and years and years.

Get the right judges, and you are more likely to get the right opinions far beyond the term of a Senator or Congress or President….

Similarly, in recent months I’ve heard more about serious efforts by some operating in the shadows to implement an interesting part of Article V of the U.S. Constitution, working state-by-state. The end-game is to remodel the Constitution to fit a particular bias, and thereby to control everyone else.

Article V? Here it is from the pages of a radical right wing “rule book” helpfully sent to me by someone I know (emphasis in the illustration is mine): (here’s the national archives version of the Constitution. Notice the notice you see when you open this page.)

(click to enlarge)

Article V of the U.S. Constitution

Leaders of the radical right have gotten close enough to control in sufficient states to be able to seriously talk about how a few people (out of we hundreds of millions) can amend the U.S. Constitution to fit their own wishes.

Here a serious discussion of that initiative to amend.

Pay attention. If you think it only matters who is President, or even who it is in the U.S. Senate or Congress, or you only need to cast an uninformed vote, think again. Every office is important. In Minnesota, you can begin by attending the Precinct Caucus on February 6, 2018.

If the minority view, which is Mollie’s, is to prevail, it will happen only because the rest of us are very sloppy.

The future is in all of our hands. WE are the U.S.

COMMENTS:
from David: I had read the Mollie Ziegler Hemingway piece in the Post. No one should be surprised that folks with conservative Republican leanings are happy with Trump. Although they might quibble with his style, they should be thrilled with his agenda, and, yes, his accomplishments. Gorsuch is only the most prominent. Rolling back regulations, passing the tax bill, and appointing conservative judges are all things that send waves of ecstasy through the right wing body politic. Trump’s style appeals to his hard-core base, his support for the conservative agenda appeals to mainstream Republicans.

Democrats seem to be taking a page from the Republican obstructionist playbook thinking that all they need to do is be anti-Trump and making it their number one goal to assure that he’s a one-term president. I’d rather see them learning from the recent Wisconsin 10th district senate special election where the Democrat Schachtner campaigned without mentioning Trump but focused on issues important to the electorate: employment, education, and the environment. Currently, national Democrats are shutting down the government over immigration issues. Important issues, yes, but Dems are in danger of sending the message that they are the party of identity politics.

from Dick: Understood. I have to try to simplify things, so I look at the reddest county I know, which voted 23% for Clinton, 69% for Trump and 5% for Johnson in Nov. 2016. In rough terms, that is about three to one. Out of four votes, three were for Trump. Based on that, its game over for Clinton (or like) forever. On the other hand, it would take a single person changing their vote to make the 3-1 into 2-2. Of course, about 40% of the eligible voters didn’t vote at all, which is not unusual. We don’t know how they stand.

Now, the fact of the matter is that the nation is essentially evenly split. In fact, Clinton won the popular vote, which Trump will not forget. There are endless variables, such as the ones you cite, and they are all factors to be taken into account.

The key variable is people actually on the court, contributing in the ways available to candidates, local, state and national; voting themselves; educating ourselves, and educating and encouraging others to vote well informed. Tip O’Neill famously said, “all politics is local”, and I think it is. Schachtner knew this in northwest WI, and apparently played it masterfully, regardless of outside money, ads, or etc. We are all local ourselves.

from Madeline, a post from two years ago, January, 2016. Very, very true.

from Harold (pseudonym) (who sends endless tirades – eight so far, today – from the farthest reaches of the far right): Your first mistake is to buy into two rags that present themselves as unbiased news sources! Wrong, they are two of the Democratic/Marxist proganda arms that can constantly put out fake news with the sources always named as unsubstantiated/unnamed. I would have thought that anyone that sees unmitigated bias for the sake of lack of a better topic to talk about than “overfeeding goldfish in Japan” or “the presidency of Donald Trump will implode the Stock Market” are as useful as the 95% certainty that Killery Clinton will be the first /next vagina in the W.H.

As I have mentioned in the past to you, you make the perfect SJW with your emotionally doing your thinking for a critical analysis of a Global agenda that your mind can’t seem to wrap around. Not only is your political views askew, but your inclination to still fall into the nonsense that having two illegitimen simultaneous Popes is what Christ wants in his halls of Luciferian pedophilia and child -sacrifice of the upper echelon of Vatican City curia and a Jesuit Black Pope who is bound to add his Globalist Cabal rhetoric to the masses of his congregation globally. The priesthood is in essence a save haven for gay men, many of them abused sexually themselves. How soon you forget that the Arch Bishop of Mpls/St. Paul had a good enough incentive to cover the wanton criminality of 100 innocent young boys, who like myself were molested by these predators. Continue with your Cognitive Dissonance Mr. Bernard and your unicorn misconceptions of reality. Maybe some day you will realize that just because you belong to a “group think mentality” of supportive self -righteous peace
apostles, doesn’t mean you don’t even see your soon to wane allegiance to the imploding Democratic-Progressive SJW Corporation global governance with a bit of Democracy, what’s left of it, in their agenda.

from Dick: I don’t block these, rather relegate them to junk. I pass this along as one of his occasional personal expressions of opinion.

from Christina, passed along from National Catholic Reporter: This was an article in the NCR–National Catholic Reporter.

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote once, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It’s the congressional silence in the face of President Donald Trump’s unpresidential, international insult of black countries that is bothering me right now.

I haven’t been writing columns as much lately as I did before the 2016 presidential election — for lots of reasons. But one of the most salient of my concerns was that I wanted to call myself to all the objectivity about this new presidency that I could muster because I certainly had not voted for it. At the same time, I did not want to pile on.

I was actually censoring myself in the hope of coming to new insights about the current presidency that could help to bring the country together rather than divide it even more than it is.

But last week a line was crossed in my heart. It touches the way we deal with people. It touches our very integrity as a nation. It touches my understanding of what it is to send people to Congress on our behalf.

I believe that if we do not as a people say “Enough!” now, we will regret it for years.

To elect a racist, misogynist, street-corner-brawler as president is one thing. We knew what we were getting. We watched him perform unabated in the campaign. But the present situation is beyond defense.

Crude, rude and emotionally uncontrolled presidents are dangerous. They affect foreign policy, national welfare and international relations. As a result, a nation once thought to be the gold standard of governments, thanks to Trump, is now dealing with all three issues.

More than that, the Congress that reminds us regularly that they are a “coequal branch of government” is at least as much a factor at this turning point in American politics as the president.

It is difficult to decide which is worse: A president unworthy of the office or a Congress unworthy of their power and place in American society. A Congress that stands by meekly — silently — while the standards of the presidency and the character of the nation deteriorate from the top down also betray us.

Congress and its leaders say not an official word of public censure about the racism that has been exposed in relation to our immigration policies. The silence in this case is not virtue. By saying nothing about the racism that underlies the president’s attack on black countries, Congress abdicates its responsibility to the nature of American democracy.

The question, then, is what can you and I do to stop this slide to the bottom of the international pit?

Only the public can say a word now that can signal to the world that, at its root, America is still American in all its ideals and all its colors.

A censure is a military procedure used to publicly and officially address “conduct unbecoming an officer.” It is a public rebuke of the commander in chief that is halfway between opening impeachment proceedings and doing nothing at all.

If you want to be part of the voice that “Makes America America again”, contact Congress and call for censure.

By Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sister from Erie, Pennsylvania.

from friend who prefers not to be named: Your statement “I’m not uncomfortable with occasionally being called “progressive” or even “socialist”, though those labels are often dispensed as if I’m something evil” caught my attention. It was those Progressives, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight D Eisenhower, that drew me to the GOP, a center right progressive party when I turned 18. I’m sure we have talked about the Southern Democrats and the transformation of the GOP from a progressive party into the dysfunctional conservative party it is today. Not sure there is any hope that intelligence will creep back into the GOP any time soon.